Directed and Animated by: James Siewert
Additional Modeling: Auden Lincoln Vogel
Special Thanks: Charles Siewert, Lisa Park, Alessandro Zomparelli, The Blender Foundation
ABOUT THE PROCESS:
The basic animation was done in Blender. In order to keep the file sizes manageable, animation was designed to be modular: each file had a large head with a “world” contained in it and a smaller head inside that world. The camera was then animated so that the motion approaching the larger head exactly matched the motion approaching the smaller head and that the “hand off” between the two cameras was seamless. Because the two sizes matched, these pieces could be composited together – fading the smaller head from one file into the bigger head of the next. The next step was to populate the environments of the 16 different worlds. Mostly this work was a stream of consciousness – but was inspired a bit by images from Ernst Haeckel, Wassily Kandinsky, and Rene Magritte.
CGI animation can have a sterile quality that – though interesting to me – I feel usually calls to be responded to by some opposite creative impulse. This is why the video was inverted, printed out, scanned back in and reinverted – even this simple act allows the ink dyes to intermingle on the page and animation inherits the tactility of that particular process. As the video progresses I added more chemical processes to the final image to increase this sense of physicality. When alcohol and ink are applied to stacks of printed frames they bleed through many pages, the stain patterns evolving organically from one page to the next. Once the consecutive pages are scanned back in the result is that the stains appear to bloom and develop in motion. Finally, for the final section of animation, the files were re-rendered as line art, printed out, and soaked in water, which causes the inks to run. When the images are scanned back in and inverted this creates glowing linework, which is composited on top of the “normal” printed images. The hope was to give the piece a natural conclusion by moving the images farther and farther away from the photographic (or pseudo-photographic), and towards abstraction – not just in the worlds depicted but by the way the image itself is constructed.