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City Limits: Unboxed

A Retro-Futuristic animated short 
Duration: 5 minutes
 
London UK, turn of the 21st Century. And for those who dare to walk in his shoes
Clay, a teenage cyborg hailed as the 'New Face of the Future' has a cautionary
tale to tell, where fame and misfortune come wrapped in the same box.

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The Production

2D Animation x Live Action

01

2D Animation on Live Action

2D characters animation in Live Action environments.

Presenting a rich mixed-media approach to animation, 2D characters move within a gritty, live-action urban environment, creating a vivid visual narrative that juxtaposes the youthful adolescence of our teenage protagonist against a realistic, grown-up Brutalist reality.

03

Real Engine

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Why Real Engine?

City Limits: Unboxed focuses heavily on the fluid movement of our main 2D character, Clay, within a realistic and recognisably real-world environment. Unreal Engine serves as a dynamic tool for achieving this balance of 2D on Live Action, offering flexibility, experimentation, and exploration in camera angles, lighting, and texturing. Enabling us to push the boundaries of storytelling and animation in real time, while efficiently supporting collaborative work on our creative vision at the same time.

02

Live Action (bookends)

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Real/Live Action actors in recreated environments.

The animation is introduced and concluded by live-action scenes featuring real actors in CGI-created sets produced in Unreal Engine. These bookends for the short take the viewer from real-world sci-fi believability to animated sci-fi fantasy and back again, all within a 5-minute story.

04

Assets Library

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Production of animation and assets in Maya.

Maya is the go-to tool for our character animation. Its advanced animation and modeling tools, specialised workflows for rigging, and precise control over character movement, combined with our ability to create a library of assets derived from our concept art, seamlessly integrate with Unreal Engine, enhancing our process and overall animation production.

Creative Direction

1980's Retro-Futurism

05

Brutalist Council Estate Enviroments

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Building an urban fantasy

City Limits: Unboxed imagines an inner-city London landsacpe of the future, viewed through a mid-eighties and Brutalist architectural lens. Post-war council estates float above the streets, and a labyrinth of abstractly arranged apartment blocks takes the viewer into an extraordinary concrete neighborhood that's familiar yet distinctly remixed, unlike any place they've ever seen before.

07

,An 80's Remix of visuals: Vapour Wave, Glitches, 8Bit

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Flexibility and experimentation in Real Engine

The flexibility of crafting a retro-futuristic atmosphere in Unreal Engine is a major appeal for our production. Its vast library of post-processing effects and customisable shaders allows us to blend 1980s visual aesthetics with vibrant futuristic elements. From colour grading to glitch effects, CRT screen distortion and more, we're creating a classic sci-fi ambiance for our new brand of animation.

06

1980's Film and Anime Cassette Futurism

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Past present and future

Cassette Futurism, a cinematic style inspired by1980's technology and design seen in classic sci-fi films like Alien, Star Wars and anime feature Akira. It is an aesthetic City Limits: Unboxed draws heavily upon. Giving the animation it's retro-futuristic feel.

08

The Audio: Spoken Word and 80s Electronic synths

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Narrating a retro-futuristic tale.

In the animation, Clay's story unfolds through a Spoken Word narrative set against the iconic Sci-fi sounds of 80s Electro

synths and Break Dancing beats, evoking a visceral sense of a retro-future. This soundtrack bridges early Hip Hop experimentation with contemporary approaches to Rap and Spoken Word found in popular British artists like Kae Tempest, Kojey Radical, Little Simz, and Mike Skinner - creating an immersive soundtrack that encapsulates the unique essence of City Limits: Unboxed's retro-futurism.

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Not everything can be fixed with the click of a switch.
Beyond the cool visuals, fantastic beats, and future tech, it's a simple story about navigating one's own mental health.

[ What's really going on? ]

Rewind and Fast Foward...

The journey so far.
The evolution of British animation. 2005 - 2025

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The team

Role

Gary Riley

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Role

Marc Knapton

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Role

Esther Douglas

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Contact

Brewery VFX

9 St Martins Court
WC2N 4AJ 

Tel: +44 (0)207 734 9846

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