A SCOTTISH studio that creates 3D visualisations for some of the biggest public realm, property, and brand design projects in the world has used cutting-edge techniques including AI to create a series of one-off digital artworks in celebration of the 50th anniversary of cult horror classic The Wicker Man (on December 6).
The series, created by visualisation artists at Glasgow-based Float, includes three movie poster-inspired visualisations – each in tribute to classic scenes from the 1973 movie starring Christopher Lee, Edward Woodward, and Britt Ekland – and a tourist brochure ‘promoting’ the film’s infamous fictional Scottish island location Summerisle.
The Wicker Man – which centres on the visit of Woodward’s police officer, Sergeant Neil Howie, to the isolated Scottish island in search of a missing girl – was first screened in London on December 6, 1973. The religious themes of Celtic paganism and an infamous final scene have made it a favourite with film and horror fans for five decades since.
The artworks were created using the same visualisation techniques Float employs to bring renowned multi-billion dollar projects such as the Qiddiya ‘destination city’ project and the new Murabba in Saudi Arabia to life, including combination of 3D visualisation, 2D matte painting, and AI to capture the film’s unique Scottish setting, and highlight references to ritualism, fire, and the sun.
Float’s visualisation artists used AI tool Midjourney to help design and create the human characters in the visuals and art direction for each shot, and Phoenix FD in combination with AI to produce the iconic burning effigy.
To capture the mood of the movie, The Float team immersed themselves in Pagan music such as bands Heilung and Danheim, as well as researching ritualistic visual references including animated art from the video game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, and the cinematography from modern cinema including 2017 British horror film The Ritual.
Andy Pennington, founder at Float, said: “The Wicker Man is one of Scotland’s most famous cinematic exports, and despite being made in a different era, the religious questions raised by the notorious ending of the film make its message timeless.
“To pay tribute on its 50th anniversary, we wanted to reimagine The Wicker Man, a film considered to be a provocative daytime horror movie, and reimagine it through a terrifying modern tribute by playing up the horror of inescapable fate at the hands of unwavering faith.
“Coupled with movie poster tributes, we wanted to imagine how the fictional island of Summerisle might have presented itself to the outside world using a tourism brochure, which, for fans of the film at least, would suggest an ironic and more sinister agenda.
“By using modern visualisation techniques and inspiration from modern cinema, we have tried to put a contemporary twist on the move in tribute to its five decades at the forefront of Scottish and UK cinematic horror, and we hope fans of the film will enjoy the references and nods to the source material contained within.”