Developments of the Hazmat Suits of Syntactic Labyrinths

Our character design process

5 min

July 16, 2023

Syntactic Labyrinths

Syntactic Labyrinths is a cgi short film about the collective knowledge of mankind. After a fatal solar blast, the end of humanity becomes inevitable.
In an attempt at preserving our legacy mankind starts working on The Library; a database including the collective knowledge of mankind.

A still from the short film Syntactic Labyrinths of the inhabitants of Babel wearing hazmat suits and walking past each other on a busy cross-section. Rendered in Cinema 4D and Chaos Corona.

A still from Syntactic Labyrinths with inhabitants of Babel wearing hazmat suits standing next to a greenhouse with lots of natural light. Rendered in Cinema 4D and Chaos Corona.

A still from Syntactic Labyrinths with inhabitants of Babel wearing hazmat suits and standing in front of a Plan B board.

The film is an ambitious and complicated project.
An important aspect of the film is the consistent world-building.

As a side-note, if you want to practice world-building for your own projects — check out our Free Building Worlds document.

But back to Syntactic Labyrinths. The screenplay specifically described an important Hazmat suit that is worn by the inhabitants of Babel.

The screenplay of Syntactic Labyrinths, a science fiction film by Blauw Films.

An ID card for an inhabitant of the Settlement of Babylonia from the film Syntactic Labyrinths.

In the first scene of the film we spend quite some time with the humans living in a fortified bunker.
Here we see them scanning artefacts and preparing The Library to be sent into space with destination Andromeda Galaxy.

A still from Syntactic Labyrinths by Blauw Films of planet Earth over the Sahara desert. There is a distant moon in space with very few stars.
Rendered using Earth Digital and Star System.
Both Resources are available for Free on our Store.

A still from Syntactic Labyrinths by Blauw Films of the Andromeda Galaxy as seen from space.
The Andromeda Galaxy made with Star System.

What the humans are wearing is incredibly important to sell the circumstances in this apocalyptic world.
In the film we want to express a strong geometric form-language that contrasts the organic structures of nature.

The first design we landed on was this:

A hazmat design for Syntactic Labyrinths by costume designer Charlotte Simons for Blauw Films.

“The prompt was to design a light-weight. brutalist-inspired Hazmat suit. It mostly serves as protection against harsh UV lights and allows for stylistic distinction between characters. Here we have explored a first version for the textures and colors.” — Charlotte Simons, Costume Designer

A hazmat design for Syntactic Labyrinths by costume designer Charlotte Simons for Blauw Films.

A hazmat design for Syntactic Labyrinths by costume designer Charlotte Simons for Blauw Films.

In a future like the one in Syntactic Labyrinths it is expected for humans to be connected to 20 electronic devices at the same time.
Some of these will be small integrated electronics and some will be more traditional ones.

For that reason it was important to think about compartments and areas to connect and store your devices.

A hazmat design for Syntactic Labyrinths by costume designer Charlotte Simons for Blauw Films.

A hazmat design for Syntactic Labyrinths by costume designer Charlotte Simons for Blauw Films.

The Look-Dev setup I’m using is also available on the Store, including a Free Download UV Checkerboard texture!

A UV Checkerboard texture map by Blauw Films for look-dev and creating photorealistic 3D renders

A UV Checkerboard texture map by Blauw Films for look-dev and creating photorealistic 3D renders.


After this first design stage it was clear to us what we wanted to express in the clothing.
Heritage and Legacy. The people living in the world of Syntactic Labyrinths are a new society made up of all surviving cultures, with a collective aim to preserve it.

For this reason the updated designs will have a variation of patches, materials and patterns sticked onto the protective layer.
The designs will also be more colorful and utilise the colors to define departments.

Concept Art and design sketches for the Hazmat Suits in Syntactic Labyrinths by costume designer Charlotte Simons for Blauw Films.

Concept Art and design sketches for the Hazmat Suits in Syntactic Labyrinths by costume designer Charlotte Simons for Blauw Films.

Concept Art and design sketches for the Hazmat Suits in Syntactic Labyrinths by costume designer Charlotte Simons for Blauw Films.

The humans in Hazmat are seen in a variety of shots in the first scene of the film.
They will require a few different techniques for animating and simulating, so I’m excited to tackle these challenges soon!

For now, here are some of the storyboards with the hazmat suits:

Storyboards from the short film Syntactic Labyrinths by Blauw Films designed by Charlotte Simons and Leonardo Verkoelen.
A collection of Storyboards from Scene 1 in Syntactic Labyrinths.

If you would like to learn more about the importance of Storyboarding, give this blog a read.
Thank you for learning more about our film production! Would love to hear your thoughts.

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