Daniel Højlund
Portfolio of Daniel Højlund

The Martian

UI and screen graphics animation

Still frames

Following screens is a selection of some of the graphics I was involved in animating.

Role : 2D animator
Produced at Territory Studio.

Project Description

The Martian tells the story of stranded astronaut Mark Watney and NASA’s efforts to bring him home. Based on Andy Weir’s novel, the story is set circa 20 years in the future, during NASA’s third manned mission to Mars. Predicated on real science, Director Ridley Scott and Production Designer Arthur Max drew on the expertise of specialists at NASA and the European Space Agency, and asked Territory to craft the screen graphics and UI that would be needed.

As a story that is mediated by technology, hundreds of screens are employed across eight key sets, forming the lens through which the drama unfolds.

Working closely with NASA, Territory developed a series of deft and elegant concepts that combine factual integrity and filmic narrative, yet are forward looking and pushing NASA’s current UI conventions as much as possible.

Territory’s plot-based graphics includes identities and visual languages for each set, and include images, text, code, engineering schematics, 3D visualisations based on authentic satellite images showing Martian terrain, weather, and mission equipment served across consoles, navigation and communication systems, laptops, mobiles, tablets, and arm screens throughout. 

In all Territory delivered around 400 screens for on-set playback, most of them featuring interactive elements. With 85 screens on the NASA Mission Control set alone, a number of which were 6mx18m wall screens, there are many moments in which the graphics become a dynamic bridge between Earth and Mars, narrative and action, audience and characters.


20th Century Fox credits
Director : Ridley Scott
Production Designer : Arthur Max
Sup. AD : Mark Holmes
Motion Graphics Art Director : Felicity Hickson

Territory Studio credits
Creative Director : David Sheldon-Hicks
Producer : Sam Hart
Art Direction : Marti Romances
Lead CGI : Peter Eszenyi
Design and Animation : Daniel Højlund, Marti Romances, Sam Keehan
Showreel edit : Marti Romances
Showreel audio : Zelig Sound

NASA Headquarters
Director, Planetary Science Division : Dr. Jim Green
Program Executive for Solar System Exploration : Dave Lavery
Manager, Multi-Media Programs : Bert Ulrich

Playback Credits

© 2015 Twentieth Century Fox, The Martian

Into the Unknown: A Journey Through Science Fiction

On Set in Mission Control - Interactive Installation at the Barbican Centre in London.

Aiming to create an engaging experience that introduces exhibition visitors to the practical logistics of how screen content works on live film sets, the result is an immersive version of the original set, featuring the same animation sequences that were used to support and visualise key narrative points from the story. 

Into the Unknown: A Journey Through Science Fiction is on at the Barbican Centre from 3 June to 1 September 2017 and will then tour worldwide.

Fewings / Getty Images.

Fewings / Getty Images.