The City of Tomorrow Festival

Client: Illusion et Macadam
Date: sept. 2019

Conception –  Animation: Adrien Boutin
Compositing: Benjamin Jonathan-Cohen
Particles simulations: Lionel Vicidomini 
Fluid simulations: Thibault Perrin
Music: Ambeyance


Illusion et Macadam, headed by Vincent Cavaroc, organized from September 27 to October 13 2019, in the Halle Tropisme in Montpellier, the festival Métropolisme. This festival aims to question the city of tomorrow in front of the big challenges concerning climate, technology and migration which shake us, by calling artists and architects, builders and urbanists, researchers and intellectuals.


To communicate about this project, we had to create a teaser of the festival for social networks and press conferences. As the client had no existing images of the festival, he wanted to use motion design. The request was to adopt the idea of the poster, a horizon with buildings made of words, while incorporating the easily identifiable graphic identity of Tropisme. To present the various artists and workshops, we decided to make a cinematic trailer.


The poster is in a design approaching the naive movement. It is minimalist, stripped, with flashy colors. The concept behind this poster is a horizon line and a yellow sky, with texts juxtaposed vertically representing buildings.

So we started with this idea: a city in which text would be erected in buildings, and which would wake up with an increasingly overwhelming heat. In terms of staging, we focused on a cinematographic rendering, like a film credit introducing the staff. The artists having various genres and disciplines, making a link between all of them would have been very complicated. On the other hand, announcing them as headliners gives an additional prestige.


The deadline was very short: less than a week. The reasonable choice would have been to adapt a workflow in 2D (faster to work, to render, to modify). Nevertheless, with 3D, we could create a real city, with camera shots and depth of field, giving the desired cinematographic look. We could also more easily create an atmosphere, with a heat haze.

Very quickly, we released these images as a first test, to see if the concept held up. The rendering worked, but everything was unreadable. We then tried to order the buildings to match the layout of the festival poster.

After the 2nd test, a new problem appeared. The rendering is much more readable and respects the poster, but it doesn’t look like a city at all. So we decided that it is not the buildings that will create the poster, but the shadows cast by the buildings.

To bring a little more variation and body to this city, we added pictos from the Tropisme guidelines. Some trees were also added, the goal being to talk about the solutions for the climate issues in the city of tomorrow, accentuated by the inauguration of the Tropisme garden during the festival.

Finally, all that was missing was the compositing (editing, reviewing the colorimetry, placing the text) for the final rendering.


We had planned to make a fluid simulation, but we didn’t have the time to put it in place, mainly because of the rendering time. Here are the pictures with the robot running to refresh itself in this fountain in the heart of the city Tropism.