Silhouetted skyscrapers rise from a deep fog, casting shadows at stark angles. Water droplets gather and shine, while bedroom lights pierce a hanging mist. Supernatural figures lurk in the background as birds flutter past, unknowingly. This is the noir, sci-fi world of None, a new animated short by Ash Thorp and Christopher Bjerre.
Although a personal project, None still exemplifies the collaborative nature of animation and CGI-heavy films. With nearly a dozen programs, the two filmmakers built a living world around the 3D modeling of others: structures by Vitaly Bulgarov, costumes by Alex Figini, and random assets from TurboSquid.
Thorp is an artist that wears many hats: Artist, illustrator, concept designer, creative director. They all fit him, but he is not concerned with labels. “I honestly just consider myself to be an overall creative person,” he tells The Creators Project. “I love creating music, editing, writing, and drawing too; I love it all.” This passion has served him well, and his credits can be found in major films like Total Recall, Prometheus, and X-Men: First Class.
This wide-reaching creative curiosity has also inspired him to help others learn. He cofounded an online school for design called Learn Squared that spans a similarly broad but related scope. Classes range from “Narrative Concept Design” and “Motion Design,” to “Main Title Design” and “UI and Data Design.”
Despite the emotive and aesthetic power of his latest short, it was really a spur of the moment project squeezed into a large body of work. Thorp and Bjerre’s schedules happened to align and they wanted to try new techniques out. Some collaborative efforts later and boom, we’re treated with None as a result.
“We achieved our goal of making a three-minute CGI animated short in under three weeks. It was a fun experiment to test out some of the recent things I have learned, while also being able to spend time and collaborate with close friends,” says Thorp. It dropped in between Hollywood gigs and his real passion project, “Lost Boy is my realization of a full world as that is a much larger and involved project.”