Invasion Interfaces
Graphic design for "Invasion" 
Client: Vodorod Pictures
Creative Director: Alexey Dimkov
Capabilities: Film Design / HUD / Intefaces
Project Summary

Dear friends! We’d like to share the project that we have made as part of the work on the “Invasion” blockbuster, which was released in 2020. We have developed the interface of a military organization, and also visualized the spaceship’s POV — an artificial intelligence called Sol. To begin with, we offer you to watch a reel in which we recall our work on the first part of the “Attraction” franchise.
Process. Sol Vision

Our work can be divided into two parts — stylistically and meaningfully — Sol’s vision and military interfaces. Our main task in creating a POV of the alien ship was to find a compromise in style: to show the extraterrestrial mind, which would clearly be not human and unlike something familiar to men, but at the same time to give the viewer a clear understanding of what the ship sees and how it processes the information he gets.
Searching Episode
At the very beginning of our work, we faced a problem. The main advantage of modern technologies, and particularly futuristic and extraterrestrial, is their incredible speed. Accordingly, Sol must process information at such an astounding speed that the human eye will not be able to even notice it. But it's not interesting to watch a movie like that. :) That's why we needed to find a comfortable pace of narration that would allow the viewer to follow the story, but at the same time show impressive technological power of AI.
We suggest you to watch one of the most technologically complicated episodes illustrating this problem — the Searching episode.
Reseach and Development.

Map of the city is a favorite visual technique, known to all and widely used since the invention of CG, and there were maps of all sizes, types and tastes on our way. Usually we were satisfied with using proxy houses, trying to stay closer to the real map of Moscow, adding iconic places so that the viewer did not notice the inaccuracies in the locations. This time we decided to act differently, and not just modeled proxy-Moscow, but generated it procedurally based on the real map. It took us a lot more time at the initial stage, but it allowed us to show the location at any size without any restrictions, and to extremely change the scale within one frame: from the wide shot of the Earth to the close-up of the car on the roadway. Everything is true — no cuts, no sleight of hand and no fraud.

We didn’t want any particularly inquisitive viewers to look for inaccuracies in our shots, so we approached every step seriously and scientifically-based, the development of satellite trajectories. We did not draw an abstract line that looks good in the frame, but we analyzed the number of satellites around the Earth and their location. As it turned out, each satellite is situated at its own altitude depending on its function. As a result, we developed a tool that builds physically correct satellite trajectories based on data from the Internet. We were only interested in communication satellites, so we left their trajectories, reducing the number of lines so that they do not merge into mess and remain readable.
Look Development

The episode of searching for Hakon was the first one in a row and the most difficult one as well, so we decided to use it for final visualization style research. Of course, we have tried different approaches and styles, and we want to share with you some of the options that we have discussed with the director, for example:
But the director preferred a brighter, more classic color scheme:
The dynamics of the narrative and the saturation of the frame with technological details opened up a new challenge for us — how to keep the viewer's attention right where we need it? We came up with a simple solution — where Sol “looks” (and, therefore, the viewer should look), was called the center of attention and this part of the frame was detailed most, everything else remained less elaborated. We called this method “the selective attention”.

Any project starts with a classic storyboard, which we draw on paper in pencil in the old fashioned way. Here, for example, is the first version of the storyboard of the Searching episode:

From the very beginning of the project, we asked ourselves — what language does the alien mind think in? Should it be international English (which, however, is not interplanetary), Russian, or extraterrestrial, like the Predator’s? We couldn't avoid the inscriptions on the screen at all, because they have an important explanatory function, but we reduced their number to a minimum and agreed with the director that the lettering will be in Russian. If Sol connects to Russian military systems, then let him interpret them in Russian too!
Social Media Episode

In addition to searching in different parts of Moscow, some of the episodes in the film tell how Sol searches for information on social networks, and we needed to visualize this data space as well.
Research and Development

You might be surprised, but eventually we have came to the conclusion that data space is a space filled with information. And that's exactly how we decided to visualize it, dividing the work into two parts: creating a space to move through, and filling that space with meaningful content.

Even though, there is lots of information in social networks, taking photos from the Internet is certainly prohibited. To fill in our social networks, we used photos from the personal archive of actors. In addition, we arranged a photoshoot of our team right in the studio, cause there’s no deadlines wild enough to erase the youthful blush and glitter from the eyes of our hotties, so we turned out as a quite believable student group.

Process. Military Interfaces.

Another part of our work on the “Invasion” movie was to create the interfaces of the military organization in which the father of the main character works. The task was simple — to make them realistic, believable, and therefore dry and mundane, no sci-fi, no fashionable details and no bright colors.
Since this organization was already announced in the previous movie, “Attraction”, the director wanted to preserve the design style of these interfaces. Fortunately, our studio was working on those interfaces two years ago, so it wasn't difficult for us to maintain a single visual narrative style. There’s an example of our interfaces for the “Attraction” movie below.
Creative director: Alexey Dimkov
Executive Producer: Timofey Penkov
Chief Technical Officer: Dmitrii Dolgikh
Producer/coordinator: Alina Kilevaya
dobro Team:
Artem Khabakhpashev, Tatyana Krasotenko, Alexandr Tokar, Vladimir Kirillov, Artur Terletskiy, Alexander Guriev, Dmitry Rodin, Victor Marchenko
IT support: Vadim Dobrazhan
Hardware Support: Smartex