Apple iMac Pro: Artist Film
When Apple created its most powerful Mac ever, few artists realized its capabilities. And so it was that Apple came to Erin Sarofsky with a simple request: Show the world what iMacPro can do. Erin’s film for Apple’s Artist Film series does just that with a magical mix of live action, CG (both photo-real and illustrated) and compositing. Her simple concept? Bring an old sketchbook and its array of contents to life.
Planets and stars, sea monsters and spaceships, the faces of lovers, the fruits left behind, we’ve scrawled and scribbled them all in our sketchbooks. But what if? What if we had a tool at our fingertips that could take those dreams and doodles and make them virtually real? When Apple created that tool with its next-generation iMac Pro, few artists realized its capabilities. And so it was that Apple came to Erin Sarofsky with a simple request: Show the world what iMacPro can do.
Erin’s film for Apple’s Artist Film series does just that. Words burst into sprays of magical moon dust, pages of a sketchbook ripple and open, letting forest flora spring out, and sea creatures wriggle free. An octopus pushes pages with his tentacles, and planets spin skyward. Choreographed with the movement, mesmerizing original sound and music tracks from Groove Guild’s Paul Riggio add an ethereal lightness and cadence.
To make the film, Erin’s concept was simple: bring an old sketchbook and its contents to life by combining live action, computer graphics (both photo-real and illustrated CG) and compositing, using the iMac Pro to put it all together.
“As a commercial artist, I’ve filled stacks and stacks of sketchbooks with great ideas,” says Erin. “So when I was first thinking about how to approach this project with unlimited creative potential, I went straight to those old journals. Page after page, I was struck by all of the fun ideas and illustrations I had just tucked away. How could I pick just one of them?”
And then it dawned: The piece needed to be about the sketchbook itself, showing all of that potential–the imagery, the ideas, the concepts—lifting right off the pages and coming to life.
She wanted the piece to be not only interesting visually, but something that would put the iMacPro through its paces, showing everything it was capable of. Erin threw visual effects at it, footage at it, CG and comping at it. And it came through beautifully. She was even able to edit 4k, raw, no problem.
To begin, Erin spent weeks filling a sketchbook with drawings, notes, and doodles. Giving the work a careworn look, she used watercolor paint and a blow dryer to distress the pages.
Then, the book was filmed using a Phantom Flex camera at 270 frames per second.
The next step was bringing the sketches in the book to life. To do that, sketches were imported into Cinema 4D where they were projected onto a 3D model, and then animated.
The illustrations and models were composited in After Effects and fine-tuned, making all of the different elements speak the same visual language.
Conceiving, shaping and producing the piece brought some lessons home. Erin’s look for the film–magic realism, is something she thinks is underutilized, and will be exploring more.
“There was a huge artistic component to making this film, because in the end, if you don’t have a strong concept you don’t have anything,” says Erin. “But there was also a very real technical component to all of this. I loved that the iMac Pro handled rendering out of Cinema 4D and Arnold, and picking renders out of After Effects—basically every aspect of the production process, smoothly.”
C4D screen captures.
After Effects composite screen capture.
Lead Artist, DirectorErin Sarofsky
Executive ProducerSteven Anderson
Flame on Mac ArtistCory Davis
Sound Designer, ComposerPaul Riggio
Sound Design, MusicGroove Guild
Phantom Camera Courtesy
Special ThanksDarren Weninger