Friday, May 18, 2012

The perfect hero Ride

Another 3D concept for production reference showing a Toa in front of the ultimate power up. The Codrex core in the back fully lit and the battle vehicles ready for action.
Thanks again to Adam Alaleh from Advance for 3D

Bionicle Full Circle

This 3D concept shows the layout of the core. I did this together with Adam Alaleh from Advance and it holds the ignition spot in the center. The columns around the center bare a striking resemblance to the stone temples that were build on Mata Nui. The Toa would probably have a strange feeling that they had been here before and they would be right. If you look closely there are 6 columns and 6 holes behind them. This is where the 6 original Toa were launched in their canisters when the heart exploded. They flew out of the heart, through the chest and landed in the water where they would later, much later! Return to follow their destiny. The light that hits the columns draws the mask of each of the original Toa on their individual sphere. The sphere holds their Battle vehicles. The vehicles could have been used by the original Toa if disaster had struck in a different way but now luckily they were left behind for later use. Thanks to Adam Alaleh from Advance for the 3D work 

Opening the Codrex

When the Toa insert the keystone the Codrex will spring into life and the multiple layers of solid protodermis perfectly held in place by magnetism will glide into position creating a perfect tunnel to the core. This is where the Toa get their power boost: the battle vehicles and this is where Matoro later on will impact with the core and ignite Mata Nui.

Swamp of Karda Nui concept

This is a guidance illustration I made for Ghost to look at when they were creating the 3D swamp scene where the battle vehicles race through the swamp. You can glimpse the Codrex in the back and the Axalara T9 speeding around the enormous roots.

The Key to the Codrex

I designed the different parts of the keystone so they formed the shape of the iconic Ignika character also referencing the old Vitruvian robot. This was the key to the ignition. An early idea was that the different keys should have been found in the part of the body they resembled.

Thanks to Adam Alaleh from Advance it was put into 3D and later used in the animation sequence.

The Codrex Concept

I drew this color sketch in 2007 to cross section the swamp of Karda Nui.

The core of the Bionicle universe is inside this massive sphere of protodermis. When the heart is running this sphere is hanging in cero gravity in the centre of the heart firing ignition energy in all direction like a sparkplug in an engine. Now it is stuck in the swamp. But when ignited all matter around it in the heart will vaporise into pure energy. Matoro wearing the Ignika finally did the ultimate heroic deed and restarted the heart in 2008 sacrificing himself in the process.

The inner Sun of Karda Nui

The saltwater that comes into the heart creates a giant waterfall dropping out of the dome and as it hits the surface of silver protodermis strong light is emitted creating an inner sun. This is the light source of Karda Nui.
On this early concept drawing you can see the big fall, the inner sun and the fires of the Av-Matoran trying to survive on the ledges of the stalactites that are impaled in the swamp.

Karda Nui. The heart of the legend

The Ignition trilogy that started out in 2006 on Voya Nui and continued in 2007 in Mahri Nui was ending up with the grand finale in 2008 at the heart of the legend inside the heart of Mata Nui. This is an early sketch of the concept for 2008. The heart had been blown open eons ago when the giant collapsed and had slowly been filled with saltwater. The incoming water had mixed with protodermis and in 2008 the fluid level had reached half full. This placed the ignition core (the Codrex) right at the centre where it had to be to restart the giant. The missing part of the heart that was blown out and became the island Voya Nui now returned and sealed the heart for the restart. With the heroes inside the stage was set for the final battle between Makuta and the Toa.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The 3-finger island and The big Earthquake

The story about the 3-finger island and the big quake that made it rise to the surface was suggested late 2000 but never used as direction. The Toa had completed the first part of their quest on Mata Nui. The Toa were going underground and found the giant “start engine” for Mata Nui. A giant schematic layout of Mata Nui carved in stone. When the Makoki stone was inserted by Gali the robot would come to life. Sadly the system had been breached and the virus was too strong so it was only the hand that moved and 3 fingers of Mata Nui’s hand were lifted to appear as a strange island on the horizon. The idea also included how a swarm of creatures (later known as the Bohrok) would be released by the quake and how they would attack the island to start the clean off. 

The hibernating Bohrok in the caves that gets awaken by the Toa was chosen as the direction to take, first of all because it was much easier to communicate and held the face to face encounter between Toa and Bohrok.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Cryoshell – Creeping in my soul

The song "Creeping in my soul" from 2007 really set the direction for the band. It has a spooky fragile tone and the lyric will creep into your ear. The video was shot on a scary mansion south of Copenhagen on a cold foggy day. I art directed the video and shot a lot of still pictures on set and some of these pictures became the cover of the EP and the album.

Revinyl – the infinite music quiz

One of my other passions is music and I love finding rare vinyl records in strange stores or crates in basements and I love doing music quizzes with friends. So what do you do when all the music suddenly becomes digital. Well I did my very first app all self-designed and self financed. It is putting the ultimate music quiz right in your hand. It needs a good wifi connection and it is only on itunes until now but who knows. Try it out, it’s free

Rahkshi teaser poster

In 2003 the Rahkshi were unleashed by Makuta and they had to have the creepiest logo. I tried to capture their alien design with this icon. It looks like something bad is unfolding hanging from the ceiling in a cave somewhere.
“Brighter light” refers to the Toa of light and the Rahkshi are the darker shadows.

A canister that inspired a legend

This post shows redrawn concept art from 2000
A lot of elements went into forming the idea of Bionicle but one of the most important one was the canister the heroes came in. The design of the packaging had to be changed from a seed to a canister to make it feasible to produce but the whole idea that became Bionicle had a lot to do with a thing as simple as the packaging. Based on the previous launches of Slizer/Throwbots and Roboriders it was natural to put these products in some kind of canister. I was determined that the canister should play a role in the story so it was not only a plastic tube you threw away after purchase because this was the ancient pod that delivered the parts of the hero. That sparked the idea that the un-build hero was going to arrive floating in a canister. This led straight into the idea that he had been in the canister for a long time and that he had a very important purpose. The seed/canister resembled a big pill or ampoule so that led to the thought that maybe this was the “medicine” that had to cure a very big patient. When pouring the parts out of the canister you were actually already playing out the story and bringing a hero to life, the legend had begun ...the rest is history.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bionicle protodermis logo and BB icon

Along with the very classic Bionicle logo I wanted to create a logo version that had the biomechanical style as its inspiration so with that in mind and the early “B4” logo I drew a yin yang like symbol and an almost symmetrical lettering for the name. The rounded metallic 3D feel makes it resemble protodermis or “living metal” that was the secret and magic substance running through the whole Bionicle legend.
The lettering of this logo was never used but the BB icon became the iconic symbol of the whole legend.

Bionicle Logo

Back in 1999 a lot of different name suggestions were on my table but there was something special about the combination of biological chronicle, Bio-nicle.
The acceptance and approval of the name went incredible fast and then it was just the matte of giving it a graphic form. It had to look epic and timeless so I chose the classic typography Trajan that originates from the Trajan column in Rome and reworked it a bit and gave it a 3D stone carved effect in Photoshop. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Battlepeak concept poster

Battlepeak exo with pilot in the cockpit standing on one of the bridges ready for battle

Battlepeak sketches

The split mountain and the bad machines versus the good exos

Battlepeak logo

The split mountain and Japanese signs sets the mood

Battlepeak concept

Back in 2004 I worked on a concept that would eventually become ….? (lets see if you can guess) It had the worktitle “Battlepeak” and the idea was a mountain split by an ancient conflict between man and machine. It included humans in battle suits and ancient fighting techniques mixed with modern technology.

Barraki 2007 – Creeping in my soul

This was another highpoint in the Bionicle legend. Everything seemed to come together. Great mystery, great danger, great characters, great location and great music. As said earlier underwater is magic to me and probably the closest we will get to visiting an alien world in our lifetime. So getting to direct a legend in this location was epic. And thanks to Cryoshell for putting unforgettable music to this fantastic year.

Mask of Life lost in the pit

This is another teaser poster for the 2007 storyline where the Mask of life sinks to the bottom and ends up in Mahri Nui. All the strangest creatures of the deep are drawn towards it and its life giving power

Mask of Light teaser poster

This is a never used movie teaser poster from 2003. It shows how Takanuva and Makuta, light and darkness are bound by fate in this epic battle.

Takanuva vs Makuta logo and nametag

When light clashed with darkness in 2003 in the caves beneath Mata Nui it was marked by these logos and nametags. They had a hint to the bigger story. The fact that they fit together is very in line with Bionicle mythology like the jing-jang logo. Takanuva had to merge with Makuta to defeat him. Light and darkness are connected and Makuta actually did god by securing that only the right heroes reentered the giant robot to restart it. Just like the body actually grows stronger and more immune after a virus.

Monday, May 7, 2012

What about the future?

Maybe some of you are wondering if I only have 10 years old visuals to post on this blog and I must admit I have a lot of old stuff but now I want to show you an early teaser for one of my future projects.
Apart from working full time on LEGO projects for the last 12 years I have been writing and making concepts in my spare time (what little there was left). Hopefully one of these concepts will soon become reality and I’m quite sure all Bionicle fans will find it intriguing.
The story has been 7 years in the making and will hopefully soon be visible as a full-blown epic universe and personal adventure of a new kind of hero. This is the essence of all I have learned and experienced the last 12 years. It is idealistic, different and epic but still very close to our time and reality. Please stay tuned. You won't regret it

Sunday, May 6, 2012


I could fill a whole blog alone with Cryoshell and all the great times I have had with the band and the music that was a big part of the Bionicle package. I have always been mad about music and the way it can tell stories and convey emotions without words so it was natural to try to incorporate music into Bionicle. So a big thanks to Eddie Simonsen from Mainstream and Mikkel Maltha, Kasper Søderlund and Christine Lorentzen from Cryoshell for making the music of Bionicle a legend on its own.

In this post you see the sketch of the Cryoshell logo and the final version.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

One sketch that made a difference

This is probably the most important sketch I did in those nine years of development. This one sketch was actually enough to convince LEGO that the secret was a good idea. It is a very quick side view sketch of a giant robot (at that point called “Core 2”) lying underneath an island with the mouth under a volcano and a canyon called “Brain Canyon” above its forehead. For many years this was the only visual showing the secret and it was kept in a deep drawer at my desk. We in the team figured that if we were to keep the secret it was a good idea not to make to many pictures of this. We knew that just one “leakage” would ruin many years of good story. We used the phrase “The big story engine” as a code when mentioning the dormant robot.

Designing a giant

Since the first concept idea about the giant robot was presented back in 1999 I had been trying to visualize what Mata Nui would look like if we were ever going to see him awaken. There were many ideas about size and design and in this sketch you see the final Mata Nui and his size relation to the Bara Magna robot. There are 2 suggestions with 2 different story directions.

Directing a legend

2008 was in many ways the highpoint of the Bionicle legend. This was when the big secret was disclosed and when the destiny of the Toa was finally fulfilled. They restarted Mata Nui but Makuta had been ahead all the time and turned their victory into defeat by taking over Mata Nui right at the reboot. Making a film that depicted this was one of the biggest challenges in creating Bionicle. For many years I doubted that we would ever get to make this sequence. One task was to design the giant Mata Nui himself. Another challenge was to make the whole sequence epic enough to contain 8 years of legend. As always the crew at Ghost VFX and sound designers at Mainstream did a great job and made the vision come to life.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Metru Nui Concept directions

When we decided to go back in time to tell the story of the Toa Metru in Metru Nui we had to create an urban version of the Bionicle universe. These 3 early sketches were done to determine how the city should look. We had to test how the kids saw urban environments and it quickly became evident that it was much more difficult to create an exciting urban environment than a natural environment such as a forest. A city was simply seen as more boring and restricted. I tried out different themes such as “Geo” “Bio” and “Tech”

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Barraki Teaser Poster

Taking Bionicle underwater in 2007 was a treat. I simply love the environments and variety of life forms and mystery sub surface. So this teaser was a little taste of what was to come in 2007. It was the intention that the tagline “Creeps from the deep” would give a 50ies horror movie feel.