Grand Space Opera: Light Age Keyframe Design Winners Interview

1st Place Grand Space Opera: Light Age – Keyframe Design: Ronan LE FUR (DOFRESH)

Grand Space Opera: Light Age Keyframe Design participants were challenged with creating four keyframes showing key narrative events in a recently discovered corner of the universe. Keyframes could include four individual scenarios, or two sets of sequential keyframes (before/after moments in the same environments) showing key story beats.

See all Keyframe Design submissions

In this interview, Ronan LE FUR (DOFRESH), Ayan Nag, and Kévin Le Moigne discuss how they created their winning keyframe design submissions. If you’re interested in joining future challenges, this is an excellent opportunity to discover new strategies!

What’s the story behind your keyframe design?

Ronan: I wanted to avoid the cliché of an ongoing war between humans and aliens. Instead, I tried to imagine a more twisted way to conquer territories and expand an empire, by forging unions between members of different species.

Ayan: In this age of prosperity, humanity has made contact with all sorts of life forms all around the known universe and beyond! Some friendly, others, not so much! We have built numerous warp gates and dimensional gateways in every corner of the universe and into other dimensions. These facilitate easier access to hard-to-reach regions, and easier procuring of alternative elements. We use these for traveling great distances, transporting goods between our planets/dimensions, and so on.

In recent days, there have been some reports of dimensional anomalies due to unknown causes. We are sending out specialized recon teams to assess and fix the situation. We are following one such journey to Planet CU-81A. A distant planet at the edge of Cygnus A.

Kevin: I think it ended up being the story of a normal guy just going around not meaning any harm, but who still ends up in a tricky situation. I kept it simple because I think there is only so much you can tell in four images, I don’t really like having to explain it on the side.

2nd Place Grand Space Opera: Light Age – Keyframe Design: Ayan Nag

What was your strategy for completing your submission on time?

Ronan: I tried to have a schedule and stick to it. I also tried to have precise objectives for each day spent on the challenge. Since it was made in my spare time and I was pretty busy, I could not afford to dilute my efforts too much.

Ayan: I tried to lock in the designs and compositions for all the frames very early on. I generally start with color sketches so that most of the time when I am done with my comp sketches, they are already very close to what they would look like as final. I did have some trouble with the fourth frame but managed to push through that. With that out of the way, I just had to refine the shapes and push the comps to finish!

Kevin: To sketch the idea and not deviate from it. I used to always try to change compositions midway through. More recently I’ve made the decision that different isn’t necessarily better. I try to make it work from what I have and if I get another idea that doesn’t fit, I keep it for the next painting.

3rd Place Grand Space Opera: Light Age – Keyframe Design: Kévin Le Moigne

Which part of working on the challenge was most exciting for you?

Ronan: I had a few very precise images in mind when I joined the challenge. It was a pleasure to see them take form, step by step.

Ayan: Always loved space opera themes and a big fan of artists like John Harris. Also a sucker for adding spheres to my paintings. So the whole thing was super fun for me! Exploring both in the early stages and later on, and painting the atmosphere and nebulae were very rewarding!

Kevin: To think about a theme that isn’t my natural interest. I think it’s cool to change subject matters even if they don’t interest you in the first place, that’s what might make you find something a bit different from others. I really want to find some time to do a couple of retro sci-fi pieces now. I also like to have a deadline, otherwise, I barely finish any personal work.

1st Place Grand Space Opera: Light Age – Keyframe Design: Ronan LE FUR (DOFRESH)

What advice do you have for future challengers?

Ronan: I would say: do not be afraid to change things if you realize they do not work. It is useless to spend too much time on something which will never end well. You’d be better to start over with fresh ideas.

Ayan: Have a solid set of references gathered very early and you will face way less hiccups later on!

Kevin: Just try to finish. It’s cool to have a complete project to show in the end.

2nd Place Grand Space Opera: Light Age – Keyframe Design: Ayan Nag

3rd Place Grand Space Opera: Light Age – Keyframe Design: Kévin Le Moigne

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