Seeing wild Pokémon would be terrifying in real life

Pokemon Legends: Arceus made catching Pokémon more immersive, with an open world designed for sneaking around and throwing Poké Balls. Players could now watch Mr. Mime make small gestures sitting in a meadow or see a shy Teddiursa walking away. But many of the wild Pokemon also attacked on sight, making the game much more intimidating for players who weren’t used to being approached and knocked out. In Arceus, andCountering massive Alphas has become a singularly terrifying experience.

As a newcomer to the franchise, I found it satisfyingly entertaining. I didn’t know a world where games were more comfortable than combat – the stealthy, real danger made the world more appealing. But my perception changed after my TikTok stream led me to a series of awesome and incredibly unsettling animations that make Pokémon look like they exist in real life. The animated sequences, created by visual effects artist Seth Whittenburg, have gone viral, with individual posts commanding millions of views. Look at them and you will easily understand why. Like other realistic Pokémon illustrations, Whittenburg’s animations are fascinating and often terrifying.

Some of Whittenburg’s animations depict Pokémon as if players are catching them in the wild. Others stick Pokémon in modern spaces – a Mew floating near someone sitting on a couch, like a regular house cat. There are chill sequences, like an assembly line creating Poké Balls. But animations depicting random encounters with wild Pokémon — like Gengar wreaking havoc in a grocery store or a large Snorlax dozing under a tree — are almost always disconcerting. Many of Whittenburg’s animation techniques draw heavily on horror elements, playing with shading, texture, and camera perspective. The tiny Poké Ball in someone’s human hands looks fragile by comparison.

Whittenburg told Polygon he grew up watching Pokemon on Cartoon Network and felt inspired to start making these 3D animations after the live action Detective Pikachu the film was released. Self-taught, he has been creating visual effects for three years, although he only started using the 3D software Blender, which has become his favorite, a year ago. Creating these animated sequences is a lot of work, and he says he’s been spending “10 to 14 hours a day” in front of his computer for six months.

“My computer isn’t the best so I have to deal with a slow workflow if I’m dealing with a heavy project,” Whittenburg told Polygon via an Instagram post. “For this reason, an animation that would only take 2-3 days ends up taking 5-7 days from time to time. The character creation process usually takes 2-5 hours, depending on the type of character I’m dealing with. Some are more delicate than others. »

Whittenburg also counts other TikTokers and YouTubers as inspiration, including popular horror VFX accounts and Jakefellman, but he mostly credits his love for Pokémon as a starting point for his own work.

“Pokémon gave me a lot of happy childhood memories, and continues even today,” Whittenburg said. “Once in a while, I rummage through the drawers of my Nintendo DSI to go back and play old Pokémon games.”

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