The new Shrek: Fromm reimagines folklore stories through a 3D lens

The digital duo’s latest project is Faerdom, a collection of animated images set in a kingdom far far away, “where heroes, saints and the mythical coexist in harmony”.

29 February 2024

Our interest in fantasy is surging. Hot off the heels of an exhibition dedicated to the subject at the British Library, 3D studio Fromm has launched a new project and exhibition about folklore. Although, of course, Fromm’s stories come with a twist. Using a combination of photogrammetry and motion tracking, Fromm brings stories of dragon-slaying knights crashing into our contemporary age.

“There is a sense of comfort in the mystical and fantasy, from the fairytales we heard growing up and popular games and films such as Runescape, World of Warcraft and Shrek,” Fromm, or Vince Ibay and Jessica Miller, tells us. “Looking back at the past can help to make sense of the increased exposure to chaos that we have today through social media. A time of magic and ritual could help navigate our polarised world. Where everything is black or white, fantasy and folklore represent the grey area, the unknown – a space where some might find refuge.”

Faerdom is also very fun. Some of the references that brought Fromm to this project include Bardcore, a music trend the team listened to “a lot” last year and the historic pubs and museums of England and Europe; “there’s a real sense of medieval London,” confirm the team. This is realised in the ceramic Staffordshire-inspired style Fromm typically uses, culminating in characters and scenes that look oddly naive, awkward and painterly, but funny too. The dance between the past and the modern is always there, so much so that you can’t tell if a head bust is an Aldous Harding lookalike or a member of a royal court.


Fromm: Faerdom (Copyright © Fromm, 2024)

The stories of Faerdom (which will continue as an ongoing project from Fromm) are varied. One explores how the Pied Piper can be linked to the reach and power of modern entertainment, the next tells the story of St Hilda, which is familiar to Fromm co-founder Vince, who lives near the Jurassic coast. According to legend, Hilda cast a spell which turned snakes into stone; Fromm’s rendition reinterprets that story, “now that we know they are ammonite fossils and not snakes”.

There is a lot of digitisation a-foot in the project. “We draw from real life 3D scans of our friends which we then cleanup on Blender,” says Vince. “We love a more hand feel look so we manually paint our models and we also got our background artist, Alexander Lee, to make us these Turner-esque skies,” says Jessica. Fromm used AI motion capture and animation libraries to bring the characters to life.

Despite its digital experiments, Fromm decided some analogue creativity was required when exploring such a traditional theme. “There is also a lot of talk around the concept of a digital dark age, where the digital cultures and data we have today will be lost due to lack of proper preservation.” At Faerdom you’ll find a collection of physical ceramics made with Priscilla Pang, who 3D printed Fromm’s models to turn them into real ceramics – the icing on a great medieval feast of a cake.

GalleryFromm: Faerdom (Copyright © Fromm, 2024)

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Fromm: Faerdom (Copyright © Fromm, 2024)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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