Planet Unknown

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    David Johnston

My name's David from a UK music & sound design studio called Echoic. I thought you might enjoy this new film we were involved with.

It was created by a Chinese student in just 11 months. A really impressive feat! 

Film Synopsis


At the end of the 21st century mankind were facing global resource depletion. Space Rovers were sent out to find potential inhabitable planets. 




Planet Unknown is a passion project from Chinese student and director Shawn Wang. Animated over eleven months it was the final project for Shawn’s course at the Communication University of China. The film looks and feels like a Hollywood production. The attention to detail is exceptional with jaw dropping renders. Both the pace of the film and the use of shots is impeccable.


The idea started back in 2014 when Interstellar was released in China. Shawn was deeply impressed by the movie and inspired by the two robots Tars and Case. The idea of intellectual robots exploring space started from there.


Other inspiration includes Pixar movies like Wall-E and Toy Story, as well as Chappie and NASA documentaries about Mars Rover Curiosity. Short films by individuals like Alex Roman’s The Third & The Seventh, Richard Mans’ Abiogenesis, Erik Wernquist’s Wanderers, Alf Lovvold’s Dawn of the Stuff, and so many more.


Shawn started working full time on this project in July 2015, though the storyline wasn’t fixed until November. The process was challenging but it was a perfect learning opportunity as well.


Cinema 4D, plugin TurbulenceFD and Octane for C4D were heavily used for most of the tasks. Houdini was used to fracture things. Then Zbrush for sculpting, Mari for texturing, After Effects for compositing, and Premiere for editing. Python and JavaScript were used for scripting in C4D, Mari and AE, which helped speed up the process a lot.

It took around 4 months to build the 3D assets. Then Shawn moved on to animatic previews. Each individual shot got more clear and problems to solve became more specific. Then the rest of the time were mainly focused on building scenes, keyframe animation, FX simulation, rendering and compositing.


Three months before the hand in date Shawn approached Echoic Audio, one of the UKs leading music and sound design studios, to create the soundtrack for the film. The collaboration was a huge success with Echoic’s epic orchestral score and detailed sound design catapulting the film to the next level.


The project got wrapped on June 1st 2016. And premiered 9 days later at Communications University of China to an audience of more 2,000 from all over the city. Planet Unknown recently won Best Animated Short at the Burbank International Film Festival.




Planet Unknown on vimeo – https://vimeo.com/183577091

Planet Unknown website – http://planetunknownfilm.com

Shawn Wang - http://shawnwangvfx.com

Echoic Audio - http://echoicaudio.com

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