Journey to Making a Feature-Length Movie in Unreal

Journey to Making a Feature-Length Movie in Unreal

How KitBash3D assets helped a director achieve his vision

As a team of artists ourselves, it’s always nice to hear that our work at KitBash3D is appreciated. Recently we were elated to discover that producer and director Hasraf ‘HaZ’ Dulull and his team are huge fans who have been using our 3D asset kits on a number of productions, including a feature-film adaptation of “Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden,” the acclaimed 2018 video game published by Funcom. When Dulull said they are creating the movie entirely inside Unreal Engine? That really piqued our interest.

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
KitBash3D: HaZ, thanks for reaching out and letting us know how much you're enjoying our asset kits! You mentioned the production of “Mutant Year Zero;” can you tell us the story behind that?

HaZ: Around May in 2020 I was tapped by Pathfinder Media to direct an animated feature film based on “Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden,” and my production company HaZ Film would produce the animation. So after that, for around 4 months, myself and a team of a couple others started work on some early footage in UE4. The entire film is actually being produced inside of Unreal Engine – we’re outputting final pixel renders, meaning no additional post compositing or FX.

myz frame 1
Very cool. Has working in Unreal changed your role as director? Are you more hands on?

HaZ: As a micro production studio, we are all very hands on, including me as a director / producer. Since I’m busy working on several projects simultaneously at various stages of development and production, I wanted to be able to try things out quickly for “Mutant Year Zero,” and Unreal Engine let us do that. We could put skeleton versions of assets in a scene and move the camera around to get ideas moving forward creatively. 

myz frame 2
Generally, in all my projects (especially for sci-fi), I lean very heavily on world building. At that stage of development, you don't want to be bogged down creating things from scratch, you want to rapidly prototype concepts and ideas. With KitBash3D, I could do that right in Unreal too – which I love, since kitbashing is a technique I have been doing since I was 8 years old with Lego!

myz frame 3
Love to hear that! Can you tell us more about how KitBash3D entered the equation and what your production process looks like?

HaZ: My CG Partner in crime is Andrea Tedeschi, who I have collaborated with on all my projects from my early short films (SYNC) to my feature films (The Beyond, 2036 Origin Unknown). He was the one who first introduced me to KitBash3D early last year, and I was blown away with the quality of detail, the affordability, and also how flexible the assets were to come together quickly and create something new that fit what was required.

myz frame 4
We continued our use of KitBash3D asset packs to help us create the worlds you see in the early footage of Mutant Year Zero. In the Ark sequence we used the Neo-City pack to complement our existing asset builds of that environment, and you can spot the Warzone and Aftermath packs in the insane apocalyptic motorway chase sequence. 

HaZ: During the last weeks or so we were able to tap into your game engine ready assets, and wow! That cut down so much of the process we had to do before when we were getting kits from 3ds Max into Unreal Engine via DataSmith – and it helps that your 4.0 update is PBR (physically based rendering) ready too, so now we just drag the assets into out scenes and kitbash away directly inside Unreal Engine. It’s been integral to the way we create our worlds and let our imagination run wild on each project.

KitBash3D: We’re grateful we can be of service! Time’s running out here, but we appreciate you sharing your experience and work thus far, and we wish you the best of luck on “Mutant Year Zero” and all your future projects! Hopefully your story can be an inspiration to other small teams too. 

HaZ: Cheers!

About Hasraf 'HaZ' Dulull

Director HaZ Dulull working with Katee Sackhoff © Simon Webb
Hasraf ‘HaZ’ Dulull stemmed from a career in video games and visual effects before directing his sci-fi indie feature film THE BEYOND, which premiered at #2 on the iTunes charts before trending on Netflix. His second feature film, 2036: ORIGIN UNKNOWN, starred Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica, Another Life) and earned a limited theatrical release in the US before landing on Netflix. HaZ went on to direct the pilot and several episodes of Disney’s action comedy mini-series FAST LAYNE, for which he was also credited as creative consultant.

HaZ is repped in Hollywood by The Vendetta Group and is the co-founder of production company HAZ FILM, where he is in production on several animated feature films at various stages, all utilizing Unreal Engine. You can learn more about HaZ at his website or follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

Photos courtesy of Hasraf Dulull, Mutant Year Zero ® and © Cabinet Licensing LLC

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