Making of Dusk Initiative Emergency (D.I.E)

This is a documentary that goes over the process from conceptual development to the finished project, which was roughly September through November. It includes not only my work but the work of the voice actors and composer. Footage is taken from screen capture, filmed footage, and diary style footage.

Filmed by Megan Wright and Megan Subr

Dusk Emergency Initiative

Made with Maya, Cinema 4D, Quixel Mixer, Audacity, and After Effects

Artist Statement

How does one navigate a silent killer?

Hiding the shadows and sticking its claws into anything it can reach, there is a shapeless monster that takes many forms and has continued to infiltrate the health field since its conception. Within the first lines of treatment, this monster has devoured its host and created devastation for minority patients coming in and out of the system. With nowhere else to go, many are left to suffer alone until their last breath. What is this monster? It goes by the name implicit bias.  In research done by the National Center for Biotechnology, 14 out of 15 studies showed low to moderate implicit bias ranging between limited time with patients of color, condescending tones, failing to interpret needs, and giving less effective care. This has been seen over and over again with higher negative bias towards African Americans compared to Latinx and other people of color. 

D.I.E is a horror animation critiquing the health care system and its promises of helping those in need, but instead, they are rejecting patients despite exhibiting major distress. Through an abstract and limited first person lens, audiences are forced to navigate a hospital environment. Void of character interactions, viewers must actively look deep into their surroundings to piece together the sociological narrative. In order to best understand the gravity of this unaddressed “monster” in society, viewers must ask, is it the individuals’ actions or is there a “hidden force” that shapes us all?

Progression – October 1st

Since a majority of the scenes are now built, I am going through and creating textures and tidying up small details. I have even started fluid simulations. As I move towards the more sculptural modeling and texturing, I am using a Gaomon tablet to have more control; however, this makes it harder to work outside my apartment because of the tools needed in this stage of the process.

Progress Mid-Critique – October 3

Progress Report – September 17th

As I work, I have been hopping back and forth with Maya and Cinema 4D to model the projects.

I am currently in the stages of adding details to the main structures. I tested lighting out of curiosity to see if how I built the walls and ceilings and doors would allow for light to move in my intended way as well as how a camera would fit in.

Here, I am playing with glow and how it might be applied to make the neon text display properly. Unfortunately, I have not had much luck, so I might scrap the textures and come back again later.

When I brought in the model from Maya, I realized that with my extruding to make the structure, I had sides doubled up where they shouldn’t. I ended up deleting it then redoing the polygon with a polygon pen.

To take a break from modeling, I started to edit textures in Quixel Mixer. I mixed a stone wall with some mass and other stone textures. I have exported the file with its AO, displacement, normal, roughness, and albedo files.

Proposal – September 3rd

Humans are evolving. Technology is flourishing. However, there is a negligence towards others, especially in the health care field. Hidden personal biases and lack of empathy, particularly in the final stages of life, have left many to suffer. I am interested in exploring this concept in a metaphorical sense versus a direct critique of the system. The project aesthetic I am aiming for is one that is almost reminiscent of a horror video trailer, game cut-scene, or intro. I want to focus on the environment and how it makes the viewer feel versus how a story and its human interaction informs the viewer. The reason is while individuals are responsible for the lack of services, there is an overarching power that is influencing the structure that much of society follows. 

While thinking about how to develop this project, I am artistically influenced by both indie and mainstream video games. Particularly, “Outlast”, “Until Dawn”, and “The Evil Within”. “Outlast” takes place in a hospital and does a great job at generating a very grotesque and disturbing feel. “Until Dawn” on the other hand has a very unique way of telling a story that creates tension in the idea of how simple decisions can have greater implications than what is first presented. “The Evil Within” has a trailer that really captivates me for its ability to utilize unique translations and unique symbolism in telling a story. It merges the idea of photography and art and transforms it into a grotesque zombie game. The color scheme of black, white, and red is really appealing. I am interested in doing the same with this work in terms of taking known environments and objects and transforming the meaning in a dark and provocative way. I think while I am not going for a zombie type of outcome, like seen in many of these games, I am interested in its connection to the decaying of human life and how it reflects and ties into the problems seen in the health field. 

In terms of what will be used for this project, I want to focus purely on the digital medium. I am looking to use Maya to develop a setting and animate as well as use the assistance of Mudbox for organic assets and Quixel Mixer and Substance Painter to create high quality textures. 

The following images are where I am drawing creative inspiration from. I do not own any of the content.