TurboSquid In The Wild: The 3D Designs Behind the House of Kardashian Opening Sequence

Jesse Radonski 3D Modeling, Customers

Kardashian. To some, the name embodies success; others may write the family off as just another subject of reality TV. Still, there’s no denying their collective influence in Hollywood and beyond. So when global creative studio Coffee & TV was tasked with making the opening cinematic to House of Kardashian, the challenge was where to begin.

All stories filled with ambition as great as the Kardashians will inevitably have scandals and personal struggles neatly framed in front of a camera. So playing off that theme, Director Daisy Loader and Design Director Ed Kevill-Davies crafted an extravagant picture frame for the show’s opener encapsulating more than a fun-loving, all-denim family — there’s also something nefarious around the edges.

Framing the narrative

It’s readily apparent that Daisy and Ed were going for a mood different from what you might expect from reality TV. “We wanted something that had more gravitas and sophistication than you’d expect, more in the realm of Succession rather than Selling Sunset,” says Ed.

“We developed the concept of having an ornate golden frame, which would symbolize nepotism, greed, and power,” says Daisy. “It alludes to the Kardashians living their lives ‘in the frame’ with their excessive media presence.” Decked out with filigree, menacing snakes, barbed wire, cash, and crowned with a K, the frame flaunts symbols of wealth.

To go from concept to creation, Coffee & TV utilized TurboSquid models as the bones of the design. The creative team combined items from 1d_inc’s ornate Pearlworks collection and Dibia Digital’s animated black mamba, enabling them to add more creative symbolism to the entire model. Even on first viewing of the opener, you can see how much detail is presented in the close-up panning shots of the model.

Starting from scratch (and when not to)

For some 3D artists, it can be second nature to get building. But when you’re looking to save on project costs and manage tight deadlines, it’s not a bad idea to have resources in your back pocket such as using stock 3D assets where appropriate. 

Coffee & TV Senior Motion Designer Jon Foskett notes that while stock assets are useful, it’s rare that the models they purchase are immediately perfect for their needs. Given the highly customized nature of the studio’s projects, there’s always some need to re-texture, re-rig, or some alterations to the geometry. 

Regardless, Jon appreciates the versatility and customization options stock assets give him. “Packs like the carved elements for the round frames and base models for the snakes saved us loads of time, even if we end up tweaking UV maps and rigging everything to work as we need them to,” he says.

More time for creativity

In today’s entertainment landscape, where content battles for attention, every spare minute teams have is gold. To make their projects shine, savvy creators leverage every advantage, from their own skills to a diverse “toolbox” of in-engine tools and marketplace assets.

Creativity can be even more critical when you’re crafting the TV show’s opening cinematic which runs just shy of 30 seconds. Will the audience understand the narrative the team is telling and feel an emotional connection in such a short time? Daisy tells us that it’s an ever-present challenge in her line of work.

When asked if he’d use stock 3D models again in the future, Jon remarks that they will always be an important part of their pipeline. “With stock 3D assets, it’s only one stage of the process and the result can be incredibly far removed from how the base model looked,” he says. “So saving time and budget on modeling everyday items gives our artists additional time to spend being creative, trying new ideas, and pushing shots in different directions.”

If there’s one takeaway from this story, it seems that teams balancing imagination and vision with tools that streamline and automate time-consuming tasks can reach success in their work that feels equal or greater to the achievements of Hollywood royalty.

House of Kardashian Opening Cinematic Credits:

Title Sequence Creative Directors: Daisy Loader & Ed Kevill-Davies
3D: Jonathan Foskett & Connor Cresswell
Color: Tash Hicks
Producer: Shannen Ward
Production Company: 72 Films
Producer: Maddie Denton
Series Directors: Sophie Fuller & Katie Hindley

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