Lost in Thought

OVERWERK on using C4D and Redshift to create iconic sculptures for his latest video, Virtue.
By Meleah Maynard

Electronic music producer and visual artist Edmond Huszar started putting his music out on SoundCloud in 2010 under the name, OVERWERK, and his life has never been the same. In addition to quickly attracting an international fan base, OVERWERK now collaborates with—and licenses compositions to—an impressive list of commercial clients, including Vogue, Gucci, Prada, BMW, Lamborghini, ESPN, Microsoft, YSL and Chanel.

His most recent release, Virtue, is a 22-minute looping track, for which he created a dreamlike, fully CG music video with help from a small team of artists using Cinema 4D and Redshift. Written by OVERWERK, the video uses a series of seven sculptures to depict man’s struggle to move beyond the kind of headiness that literally causes men, in particular, to become lost in thought at the expense of a deeper connection beyond self and the essence of what makes us human.

Embodying the virtue, prudence, the character considered what he had learned and realized the value of being present rather than consumed by thoughts.

A year in the making, Virtue was funded in part by FACTOR, the Canadian government and Canada’s private radio broadcasters. Though he originally envisioned making static models that might eventually be turned into actual sculptures for a gallery exhibition, OVERWERK, who began learning Cinema 4D in 2010, opted to create a video in which each animated, baroque-style sculpture personifies one of seven virtues: faith, courage, hope, prudence, temperance, love and justice. “The main story I really wanted to tell was about mankind’s mind-dominance and predisposition to thought itself” he explains. “We often struggle to find space in between those thoughts; to perceive and experience life without the mind’s narration or chatter. In the video, we see how the cyclical pattern of thoughts can shroud our perception and distract from life’s true experience.”

Modeled in Cinema 4D, the statues were textured to simulate white Carrara marble to give them a slight translucency.

Full Creative Expression
Growing up, OVERWERK was surrounded by people who were artistically inclined. His mom and dad both dabbled in the arts, and his aunt and uncle were creative directors at ad agencies. Seeing how much they all enjoyed what they were doing, he dreamed of becoming a graphic designer and eventually even owning his own agency. At the same time, though, he also loved music and happily took on the role of DJ at high school dances and other events.

By the time he was in college, OVERWERK still saw music as just a hobby. But he had also started actively producing compositions and releasing them. “And then music took on a life of its own,” he recalls. “I thought music would be something I did on the side, but once I started OVERWERK, I became fortunate enough to pursue both art and music, which allows me to express all facets of my creativity.”

Edmond Huszar who releases music and art under the pseudonym OVERWERK.

Since releasing his debut music video, Winter, in 2016, he has released several EPs and albums, including the critically acclaimed dance music album “State,” and the accompanying award-winning music video, Reign. Often touring globally, OVERWERK may be best known for creating an original track for GoPro called Daybreak. Videos featuring the song have been viewed over 50 million times on YouTube.

A Story in Seven Characters
After reading some philosophy and assembling a small team, including motion designer Lorcan O’Shanahan, character artist Richard Reyes and producer Ebrahim Zarif, OVERWERK took time to study reference images and texts before starting work on the animated sculptures. Primarily interested in baroque style, they were drawn to the work of Italian sculptor, Gian Lorenzo Bernini; and the main character was based on Bernini’s David.

Love is a virtue the main character embodies only after he’s opened himself up to deeper truths.

“His sculptures are my favorite, despite the challenge of recreating his extreme level of detail,” OVERWERK recalls, explaining that his goal was to combine that iconic look with a modern storyline. “Virtue was the longest and most arduous project I’ve worked on. I wanted the story I wrote to be infused into every detail of the sculptures, and I spent months researching theology, philosophy and iconology.”

By the time the character embraces justice, he is able to free himself from fear and death.

Once the preproduction research was finished, he and O’Shanahan got to work creating the sculptures and found that finding ways to achieve a classical style within a 3D space was a new and exciting challenge. It helped, he says, that Reyes did a spectacular job adding detail and bringing the sculptures to life. Knowing the length of the song was an obstacle they needed to consider, the team opted to use Cinema 4D and Redshift. Dane Armour used C4D for all of the camera animation, as well as the sculpture concepts, and Redshift’s texturing and render capability allowed them to achieve the results they were after in a reasonable amount of time.

Ultimately, OVERWERK made the video he wanted to make, even though he knows people seem to prefer shorter content these days. He imagined Virtue as a kind of a soundscape, something loopable that doesn’t need to be watched all the way through at one time. Much to his surprise, though, feedback on the video’s lengthiness has been positive. “I thought this would be great for creating ambience, and I didn’t expect everyone to sit and stare at their computer screens for 22 minutes straight,” he says. “But I’ve heard from many people that they’re glad to see something longer for a change, which is encouraging because I wanted to create something different. I’m happy the reaction has been so positive.”

Music and Creative Direction: OVERWERK
Executive Producers: Ebrahim Zarif, Edmond Huszar
Production and Technical Direction: Lorcan O’Shanahan
Sculpting and Modeling: Richard Reyes, Edmond Huszar, Lorcan O’Shanahan, Brendan Pace
Camera: Dane Armour, Lorcan O’Shanahan
Lighting and Rendering: Locan O’Shanahan
Production Assistant and Junior Artist: Brendan Pace
Special Thanks: Ian Spriggs, The Sequence Group, Merk Vilson, Ruan Els, João Paulo
Rendering Support From: FoxRender Farm

Meleah Maynard is a writer and editor in Minneapolis, Minnesota.