An exciting addition
to Atomic Heart
We helped Mundfish develop character design and a cartoon for Atomic Heart. The cartoon is used within the game and demonstrates how the key game mechanic, the “polymer glove”, works. In its implementation, we wanted to approach the propaganda videos for Soviet pioneers. We reviewed many Soviet cartoons to get the style and compositions of that time.
Soviet propaganda aesthetic
Several artists participated in the design research. The first approach came from Arseniy: realistic characters visually referencing the films of Ivanov-Vano from the 1950s, using a rotoscope technique mixed with anti-capitalist propaganda posters.
Arseniy Popov, artist:
When working on the image of the Capitalist, I wanted to balance his inherently repulsive image with irony. The result was a gradient of three images, where in the first we see a carefree sybarite, whom we can even sympathize a little. In the last one, we see a static “toad-like bag of money”, more likely to inspire fear than anything else. In the second image, I tried to balance the emotional scale between the first and third.
Dyozhkin and Chizhikov vibes
The second approach was made by Dima Ekishev. It was an emotionally bright approach with funny characters reminiscent of the heroes of Chipollino and Puck! Puck! by Dyozhkin.
Justice will prevail!
As a result, we chose a frail pioneer with a shovel from Dima. He also adjusted the design of Arseniy’s Capitalist in his own style to make the characters look like they’re from the same world.
Dmitriy Ekishev, artist:
It was a pleasure to work with such an understandable, concise character. Having references from Soviet animation and a detailed description of the characteristics, it only remained to add your own style to the implementation. What I love most about the pioneer design is the tie and cap without outlines and how they stand out from the rest of the elements.
Back to the Past
To achieve a nostalgic mood, we wanted the retro style to be recognizable in the montage and camera angles. To do this, I used the theatrical composition that was adopted in cartoons of that time. Such cartoons had low angle camera shots only in special, accentuated moments. In other cases, we see the characters from general or medium shots.
Together with Dima, we drew layouts of accentuated events. As a result, the animators focused on the accuracy of movement, and Dima thought with static pictures, simplifying and stylizing some design elements based on the camera angle. In addition to working on the first video, we also drafted some ideas for the other episodes about the wonders of the polymer glove.