Magic Man - Orthodox Drill (Snippet Video)

Producing Directing Creative CG & 3D Art Cinematography Editting

This video is a testament to the power of creativity over budget: a team with ingenuity and the use of a game engine can produce compelling content for rising talent in the hip-hop scene.

The Story

This short musical snippet was created pro bono for my friend, Magic Man, a rapidly rising star in the Russian media industry. In a brief span, Magic Man gained significant media traction and needed to quickly generate fresh content to solidify his burgeoning celebrity and cater to a new fanbase with more content offerings, while also refining his artist persona.

I crafted the snippet as a directorial exercise within my self-training regimen in character animation, digital double creation, and exploring the Unreal Engine's capabilities within professional pipelines.

The Budget

The project's total budget was well under $1,000, with $500 allocated to a specialist for vehicle animations in Unreal, sparing me from handling absolutely all aspects of the work. Another $300 was invested in a collaborative mountain retreat, covering travel and hotel expenses. The remainder funded the tailoring of the artist's costume and the purchase of accessories.

Moreover, the project was executed in Bali, where I do not have legal permission to work for pay under tourist status. Therefore, I decided to undertake a genuinely creative project...

The Idea

The idea behind this venture was to test the waters on how cheaply and quickly visually appealing projects could be produced by leveraging my current skill set and the gaming engine's prowess.

The Process

In collaboration with my wife Regie, I sparked the initial concept and crafted the visual narrative for our video project. The original music track underwent a strategic trim to a tight 30-second format, ensuring it fit the bill for a punchy musical snippet. I dissected the beat, identifying the precise count of frames needed for the CG animation — a key step that paved the way for a calculated scriptwriting process and meticulous second-to-second storyboard planning, optimizing our 3D\VFX efforts.

Additionally, I utilized Midjourney to produce an array of concept art that anchored our creative direction.

Progressing with the visual components, I orchestrated a photoshoot with the artist to capture the necessary references, subsequently sculpting his digital twin in Blender. This 3D model was then transferred with precision into Unreal's Metahuman Creator, imbuing it with an uncanny realism that blurs the line between digital and physical.

To enhance the realism of the facial depiction, I meticulously mapped the textures from the artist's photographs onto the 3D model. This technique ensured the virtual incarnation bore an uncanny resemblance to its real-life counterpart.

Taking advantage of Bali's sophisticated textile industry, where custom tailoring can be remarkably economical, our costume designer, Kristina Lehmansh, also the artist's spouse, chose to draft the costume's design and fabricate it from premium silk. This approach allowed us to produce a striking costume at a substantial savings—achieving a look that would cost tenfold if acquired off-the-rack.

Utilizing Kristina’s meticulous patterns, our adept virtual costume artist, known as Future Deconstruction, skillfully fashioned an accurate 3D rendition of the artist’s ensemble, ready for state-of-the-art fabric simulation.

While the team was busy tailoring the character's costume, I wrapped up sculpting the artist's figures in 3D, and ported all the body shapes over to Unreal MetaHuman.

To cut costs, we didn't build the car from scratch in 3D; instead, we purchased a stock model. We then custom-modeled the interior and glass, rigged it for animation, and ported the project into Unreal Engine.

Upon my request, our designer Dima Mironov crafted the inscription "Magic Man" in the style of the Cadillac logo for the vehicle's license plate.

But I'm betting none of you caught that little detail in the snippet, did you? 😉

The most noticeable flaw in this CG work is the glass shader's quality on the car.

We saved on the budget by using real-time rendering, which unfortunately didn't allow the glass material to look as photorealistic as desired. This detail is the only visual element that I find less than satisfactory in the piece.

However, this is a slight imperfection in an otherwise excellent project.

The entire surrounding world was kitbashed using the free Quixel Megascan library of objects and textures.

As the creator of this project, the second aspect I'm not entirely happy with is the quality of Unreal Engine's default ocean. Since our resources didn't stretch to purchasing advanced plugins or bringing in water simulation experts, I opted to stick with the practical choice.

Given the project's timeline and budget, I'm reminded that perfectionism isn't always practical. There's wisdom in the mantra "Good is good enough."

We filmed extensive footage featuring hot women for this video; however, I made an executive decision to remove these scenes in post-production as they significantly slowed the pacing and were incongruent with the 3D sequences. Consequently, this clip is comprised of 95% computer-generated imagery.

The sole nod to the live models in the video appears in a single frame. Incidentally, the stones in this shot were computer-generated and I composited them into the scene using Blender.

Interestingly, the 'Magic Man' character is not only present inside the car but is fully animated. Yet, due to the swift pacing of the frames, this engaging detail remains out of sight.


This endeavor has reinforced my belief that creativity and technical skill outweigh budget in importance. With a proficient use of cutting-edge tools and a willingness to experiment with emerging technologies, it's possible to achieve remarkable results, even with a lean team and within stringent timelines.

The project served as a superb exercise in directing...

The Crew

Director / Producer / DP / VFX & 3D Animator: @voogie
Art Director/colorist: @smokinregie
Costume Designer: @lehmansh
Digital Clothes artist: @future_deconstruction
Car Animator & Unreal Engine Artist: @ramzes_vfx
Additional CG modeling by @dmitryjd
Lettering: Dmitry Mironov

Starring: @magicpimpman & @lehmansh @maria____kasta