Full steam ahead!

Post written by Rado Žilinský. See his work HERE.


I’ve met Peter and Barbora for the first time when I wanted to create making of video for one of my own projects. We understood each other from the beginning and we’ve been of one mind so thanks to it, our first project went well. During that time we’ve been talking a lot about their big project, which they were preparing. As you probably know now, it was Heart of a Tower – a unique Slovak project for me. They let me read the script and I really liked it – the style, the setting and also the story.


Based on that, I decided it would be nice to contribute by my piece. They agreed and I chose to work on art design of the Steam-boat, where part of the story takes place. I’m glad that I could also write this blog, because sometimes it seems most of the people think, that the work of us – the artists – is easy. That the ideas just pop out of our minds and than than we are just putting it on the paper. Often, they don’t realize how much work and preparation could hide behind such art design.


That’s why I decided to show you the process of creation briefly. But don’t worry; it’s mainly about the pictures. It could be enough to go through them to understand it. But if you’ll be interested in anything more, or it won’t be obvious from the picture, the explanation will be on hand in the text.



  1. If you’re not Oliviero Toscani, who simply come and knows, you can’t avoid the preparations. When I’m about to design anything, in this case the steam-boat, I have to gather a material at first. This time I was looking for old and/or historical pictures of different boats and also illustrations of other artists. This part could be simply called by one phrase – Steal like an artist.








2. Although I like to draw by hand, this time I used slightly different approach. I made the basic sketch right in the 3D program. It was easier for me to work with things like scale or approximate height of the floors this way. The steam-boat is pretty technical stuff, which was also one of the reasons for my decision. Everything that followed after was easily made in Photoshop.






3. As you can see on the following pictures, it was rather easy for me to move from 2D sketches straight to the 3D. Here we were looking for the right proportions of the boat. 3D is great for it (you can also have a look how does the boat look from the other angles – HERE). This is the phase, when you start to have much better idea about how will the final picture looks like. We were thinking about if there’s enough place for the whole crew of the boat or if there are all the places for the specific scenes from the film. Here, it’s very important to talk about the unfinished work step by step. It could be real bummer if I’d secretly do it my way almost to the final stage. Feedback, that would come after, could be much more extensive and terrifying than it was.









4. Anyway there’s always some feedback. Actually, life of an artist is the feedback hell:) Sometimes, the clients are torturing us by a complicated feedback, but in fact they just want to tell us that we have to make it completely different (but to be honest, this is mainly the case of the artists, which are usually keeping their progress secret, or they’re not answering their phones). I believe it’s not my case:)






5. So, when you survive few feedback rounds and your mental health is still strong, you can move to the final render in 3D program. Render is something like the final picture, where the camera angle, lights and main materials are set up. Then you can move to Photoshop, to add all the details, textures this time only in 2D space.






6. And then… finally… Here you can see, which parts I’ve been doing only in Photoshop. I added different textures, some “dirt”, irregularities, also the background, overall colours and lot of other small details.


To get to this final artwork took about one month.



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Birth of the Soldier

Post written by Milan Vagač (see his work HERE)


I’ve liked the visual character of the movie Heart of a Tower from the very beginning, so when I was asked to cooperate on it, I was really looking forward to it.

My first task was to create the character of the member of the army – the soldier, which is not only a single character but will be the model for the other soldiers and actually the whole army. I was supposed to invent the character that would clearly look like a soldier, but he shouldn’t remind any real, existing army of any country, because this soldier is the member of the army of the fantasy world Yourland. Before the actual work, I made a research of existing uniforms, from historical ones through lot of exotic and unusual ones to the current ones which are still being used.




The uniform which is now part of the final art design is a connection of my inspirations from the exotic and historical patterns and designs, but the actual final design is a new and original uniform specific for the needs of the army of Yourland. The soldier and in fact the whole army in the story is not supposed to be strict or even dangerous. That’s why the color scale I used for the uniform is little bit lightweight and the overall look and expression of the soldier is rather comic and clumsy.







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plutoon on Anifilm and Visegrad Animation Forum!

Post written by Eva Pa and Peter Budinský


First weekend in May, we traveled to visit the biggest animation event in Czech republic – International Film Festival Anifilm, which had again very rich program of animated features, shorts and music videos. We took the opportunity to travel there as a part of the Slovak delegation for Visegrad Animation Forum and we also didn’t miss the opportunity to watch fresh animated features!





Visegrad Animation Forum, film industry and market access platform for film professionals active in animation, has the aim to attract new partners, producers, broadcasters and film distributors, and to assist in finding ways of financing shorts, animated features and TV series. We followed the pitching of animated shorts and TV series as well as very interesting program about distribution of films for kids. And we made some networking too! Hopefully successful one!



foto 2



Animfilm competition of feature films for kids was full of great movies and French movie Phantom boy (directed by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol) was the well-earned winner. It was accompanied by four more films in the competition. Three of them were French, Long way north (directed by Rémi Chayé), April and the Extraordinary World (directed by Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci) and Adama (directed by Simon Rouby) and one Japanese, which we would like to mention more.

Film Boy and the Beast (Bakemono no Ko in Japanese) directed by Mamoru Hosoda premiered on Toronto International Film Festival. It was a Japan’s second biggest theatrical hit in 2015. The story is based on Japanese culture full of different creatures, as we all have seen in Japanese movies. But it also searches for the meet with the western culture, when a white whale from the novel written by Herman Melville comes alive. The story is about small boy, who enters the world of fantasy and is raised there by the crabby bear warrior. Endless disputes between them are full of funny moments. Technique of the film is hand-drawn animation strongly reminding visual style of well known Japanese studio Ghibli. Film Boy and the Beast is already in the Czech distribution and we hope for the Slovak distribution as well!




We’re looking forward the next edition of this beautiful event!

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Our Heart in Switzerland

Post written by Eva Pa


In the beginning of September, we took our project Heart of a Tower to a journey to Swiss city Baden, which is a small thermal spa resort next to Zürich. And it wasn’t just an accident.


Baden, photo by Eva Pa


We were invited to come by the International animation film festival Fantoche. This festival was not unknown for us; we’re visiting it almost every year. And so we went there also for it’s 13th edition to present our film Heart of a Tower in the section “Coming soon”.


Visual of Fantoche


We were really looking forward to the presentation, but also to the attractive program of the festival with the focus on Polish animation and mainly to our Swiss friends Frank Braun (by the way, he’s one of the founders of Fantoche and currently the chairman of the board of the festival) and Kristin Irion (co-owner of the graphical studio, that creates the visual of Fantoche). What’s more, there was a premiere of Frank’s new film Islander’s Rest, and his co-director was again Claudius Gentinetta.


Frank Braun and Peter Budinský, photo by Fantoche and Eva Pa


We even managed to become the “highlight” of the program of the day. Erik Van Drunen was the curator of the section “Coming soon”. This was the first time we presented our brand new visuals of characters and backgrounds and also the animation technique on the international stage. We also introduced one of our first merchandising products – the memory game.


The presentation, photo by Fantoche


Curator Erik chose two more projects to the section “Coming soon”. Swiss-French coproduction Young Perez directed by Franck Van Leeuwen and Polish-Spanish coproduction Another Day of Life directed by Raúl de la Fuente and Damian Nenow, both balancing on the boarder of animated documentary. From the rich program of Fantoche, we really enjoyed feature films Long Way North by Rémi Chayé and The magic mountain by Anca Damian. Great surprise was the Swiss selection, not only in the international, but also in the national competition. They’re full of great stories and scripts and strong in their visuals and animation.


From the films Queen Bum, Ivan’s need and Long way North


Now, we’re already back, working on Heart of a Tower and we’re looking forward next edition! Thank you, Fantoche!


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Creation of Metal Man

This post has been written by Matej Mazák, who created the art design of Metal Man (https://www.behance.net/matjemazka):

Personally, I was fascinated by Metal Man from the very beginning. I always wanted to create a film villain, so my dream came true.

Metal Man was created step by step by transforming of the sketches, inspirations and visions of the art director Peter Budinský to the form, which best suits the main villain of the story and still maintains the visual concept of the project.

In the beginning of my work, there was a classical automaton, which has shiny and sleek outer form, but underneath it, there is a complicated mechanism made of gear wheels and clockworks. Very important to maintain the visual concept was to create elements of abrasion, welds and rivets, so there are visible ravages of time.

I tried to transform the story behind his character to the sketches and I made really lot of them until I found the best form and the best structures. Then I moved my work to the computer and I’ve started to „build“ Metal Man from the scratch. Every single detail, every texture, screw after the screw, he was born finally.


The most difficult part of it was probably to preserve the visual atmosphere of the whole film and it took some time for me to get into it. But I consider it to be normal as this was the first character for Heart of a Tower I made. So this is the final art design of the main villain – Metal Man.

Finally, I’m satisfied with the result and I’m looking forward creating another one (coming soon).

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Heart of a Tower on Anifilm

Pluto proudly announce that on 8th May 2015, we’ll be attending the International Festival of Animated Films Anifilm in Třeboň with the presentation about Heart of a Tower as a part of the festival program called Works in progress.
To our great pleasure, we’ll be presenting on the very same stage as the great Czech director Jan Švankmajer, who will present his new film Insects and who’s truly a legend for us.
We’re looking forward this beautiful festival and all the people there!
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Metal Man in progress

Our feature film Heart of a Tower is still moving forward. Currently we’re creating the designs of new characters.

This one is called Metal Man and he’s the main villain, who’s been originally constructed to protect the country in which he lives. But one day, everything has changed…

Anyway he still has good manners and some sort of irony and what’s more, he’s really clever and it’s making him even more dangerous. You’ll find out later, what’s his greatest weapon…

Here is the art design created by Matej Mazak, Slovak animator (https://www.behance.net/matjemazka).


We’re already looking forward the final visual.












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New Book Just Published

Adaptacia – a new book written by a Slovak writer Miroslava Varackova – has been published recently. And Pluto is proud to present you its cover, designed by Peter Budinsky.

If you have teenage children, siblings or friends, go and buy them this book. It’s one of the most popular style (supposedly) for young adults – teenage post-apocalyptic dystopia from the publisher Slovart.

You can see the original art design here.


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