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Aaron Sims TANK interview

Aaron Sims

Concept Artist

Aaron Sims, founder of the award-winning visual effects studio Aaron Sims Creative, talks with us about the release of the TANK Kickstarter project...

Check out the TANK Kickstarter campaign!

3dtotal

Thanks so much for talking to us Aaron! To start us off, could you tell us a little bit about Aaron Sims Creative and where it all started?

Aaron

Yes, of course. I started my career in the 80s as a makeup effects artist and have been involved in the film industry ever since. I have experienced and played my part in the many changes that have happened to the studio since then. Aaron Sims Creative started in 2005 as a design and concept studio to help filmmakers and storytellers visualize their projects through art and concept development. The ASC studio has since grown into a visual effects studio focusing on creatures, and most recently partnered with Epic Games to bring stories to life via real-time animation and rendering. TANK is one of our exciting new projects.

3dtotal

Which were the biggest achievements or breakthrough moments of ASC’s history?

Aaron

I would say that our recent new evolution into original content creation is one of our most important moves to date. Growing our portfolio from films and games, and now books, this time we are in right now is the biggest breakthrough moment for us. It's an era I have dreamed of for years but never had the time or team to devote to the many concepts and stories I wanted to tell.

3dtotal

What does an average day at the studio look like?

Aaron

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, it seemed we had more projects than we could handle, and the team were very busy. The future looked bright and as though everything would just keep growing. But we had some exciting projects that just came to a full stop when Covid happened.

Like many other businesses, as a team, we had to adapt and work more in isolation. We have found some things more challenging than others but manage to work through most of them. It’s hard to believe we are already coming to the end of 2020. In so many ways it can’t come fast enough. This has been a tough year for all around the world.

3dtotal

TANK is such a diverse and original story – where did the concept for TANK originate from?

Aaron

The story is one I have been wanting to tell for a long time. We had a masterclass at ASC for our “Sketch to Screen” process, teaching design all the way through to production of a film. During that class we developed TANK as a quick concept about a boy in the future that was being attacked by a drone and then saved by a big robot named TANK. This was the start of developing TANK into a bigger story. From there we workshopped the concept and made the bold choice to mix aliens, time travel, and robots into the same story.  It’s that combination of elements that allows for such a broadly unique palette, both visually and narratively. Once we had our story and look down, we felt a narrative art book would be the best way to tell this story and introduce Max and TANK to the world.

3dtotal

Can you reveal more about the main characters?

Aaron

Max, is an orphaned street kid who grew up fast in an unforgiving city. He’s a thief for hire who has a reputation for being the best at slipping in and out of places undetected. Despite his reputation and snarky nature with clientele, Max is a sensitive, lonely boy, who dreams about being reunited with his parents who were taken from him tragically.

TANK is an obsolete defense robot from a bygone era who was left to rust in a subterranean storage facility. By chance, TANK is awakened by Max and given renewed purpose to protect his new human counterpart at all costs. We come to learn that Tank has a form of robotic PTSD from a deadly combat mission that left him unable to communicate verbally. Despite being built to destroy, TANK has a big heart and deplores violence.

3dtotal

What will the final book look like?

Aaron

The final book will be a landscape-oriented hardcover book. It will have good weight to it as it’ll contain over 150 pages of bespoke art followed by a full section documenting the behind the scenes process of creating the characters and world.

It will be a versatile book that can be stored on a shelf in a child’s bedroom or on full display on a table in an office or living room. No matter where the book lives, a reader will be able to turn a page and be met with a captivating piece of art and a fun story to get lost in.

3dtotal

What sort of additional gifts can readers hope to get their hands on through the Kickstarter campaign?

Aaron

We’re offering some really great gifts through the campaign! We have a limited run of signed copies of the book, beautiful giclée prints of the TANK cover art, an A4 landscape sketchbook featuring original sketches from the design process on the front and back covers, and last but not least, a 3D model of TANK in all his mechanical glory!

Additionally, there will be a host of fantastic stretch goal gifts unlocked throughout the campaign. A lot of love and attention went into every detail of this book and we’re so glad to be able to share it!

3dtotal

Why do you think readers should pick up a copy today?

Aaron

Readers should pick up a copy today because it’s a safe way to experience a big-screen cinematic story all about holding onto family and having hope in the face of uncertainty and insurmountable odds. At the moment I believe readers young and old could use a cinematic escape like TANK that stimulates their imagination, gives them a break from their screens, and instills a positive message.

3dtotal

What plans do you have for TANK and Max in the future?

Aaron

Their story will live on as we have plans to do much more than this one book. We have two more stories in this series planned as well as an animated series and video game.

Our goal is to make the adventures of Max and Tank something people will talk about for decades to come.

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