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Borte - An Historical Novel

@ Түркістан му­зыка­­лық драма театры - 2021

In 2021, Turkestan Musical Drama Theatre in Kazakhstan opens for the first time with the historical drama Börte, based on the work of playwright Dulat Isabekov and directed by Davide Livermore.

Blending Pixels, in collaboration with D-Wok, conceived and realized the visual design, dressing the gigantic LED surface of the backdrop.

The play represents the life of Borte, wife of Genghis Khan, who played a unique role in the life of the Mongol empire.

In addition to creating a cartoon introduction to the story, animating Luca Ferrara's illustrations, and making the indoor scenes in the yurts, we were asked to narrate the bloody advance of the leader and his army that moved from China to Kazakhstan up the river Kherlen.

Technical Review

Chromatic suggestions, burning forests, natural landscapes dominated by immense moving skies and mountain ranges made of fabrics, evoking the silk road, and the metal meshes of medieval armors.

To realize this particular idea, also inspired by the work of artist Irina Nalyvaiko, we developed a 3D workflow creating dynamic simulations of clothes to symbolize the geographical terrain conquered by Genghis Khan.

For the main scenes, we used Houdini for 3d modeling/simulation, Photoshop and Substance Painter/Designer for texturing, and Redshift for rendering.


For the weaving scene, the solution was to create the carpet shape, scatter it above the terrain, and let it fall with a simple Vellum cloth simulation.


The scene was then composited in After Effects, creating the carpets with an Ink reveal effect.


As for the materials and texture, the various fabric patterns were created using Substance Designer, Painter, and Photoshop.


The Dragon Banner

The dragon banner was more of an "old school" workflow. We drew some alphas in Photoshop and used them in Substance Painter to create the textures applied to a pretty basic Vellum Simulation.


The Yurt

This project also required some standard 3d content. The yurt was entirely modeled with Houdini in a procedural workflow, using a bit of Vex and Copy Stamping to randomize some shapes to eliminate the "too much perfect" 3d look.



Visual Design: Blending Pixels @ d-Wok
CG Artist & Supervisor: Roberto Santoro
CG Artist: Giuseppe Flora
CG Artist: Francesca Cianniello
CG Artist: Ubaldo Leporale
Illustrator: Luca Ferrara

Director: Davide Livermore
Artistic Director: Carlo Sciaccaluga
Set designer coordinator: Anna Varaldo
Set designer: Alice Ferranti
Composer: Hamit Shangaliev
Choreographer: Dauren Samashov
Light designer: Gulnar Akhanova
Costume designer: Zhanat Kokimbekov, Erdos Tuitebayev


Börte: Ayia Sharip, Akbota Kaimakbayeva
Gengis Khan: Erkebulan Dayirov, Nurken Uteulov
Djuci: Ak-Sultan Anuarbek
Ögödei: Muzafar Galymzhanovich
Tolui: Sherkhan Samatovich
Chagatai: Islam Jumatai

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