Final Animation

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scene 8 : the end

This last scene is based of the Egyptian myth of Apepis, or Apophis, the snake that wants to devour the sun and battles with the sun god Ra every night. Ra emerges triumphant everytime. Seeing as this is the end, I thought it would be nice if he actually succeeded. That’s how I’ve always imagined the sun giving out ever since I was a kid. But apart from personal, I think the concept of everyone ending up there works well. Ideally, i’d have them form that snake, but that’s something for another time

Due to time constraints, the animation of the figures walking towards the pyramid looks a bit odd.

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scene 7: baptism

My least favorite scene, by far. There is a wide range of religious references in it. The main concept is the absolution of mankind’s sins as they prepare for their final destination. The four hoursemen and the lotus (the flower that the supreme Hindu god Vishnu appears on) are also introduced in the background and the baby has a number of different meanings, the most dominant one being the “new” universe. I went for a “tribal” style for the characters in this one, borrowing elements from african masks. African art has always held some deep spiritual meaning to me and I felt the need to bring that out in this animation as well, apart from the other movements I’ve mentioned previously.

This whole scene was a nightmare technically. It took me ages to manifest certain aspects which aren’t that visible in the end. The main character ended up looking completely out of place and the connection with the previous scene isn’t as successful. That being said, I learned a lot from working on it and gained a lot of skills, including (but not limited to) creating semi-realistic reflections in After Effects.

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scene 6: eggs

While this scene was not really necessary in the sense that the rest of the animation can work without it, it is without doubt my favorite. It shows the eggs of a serpent falling into water, the actual serpent modelled after the ouroboros introduced earlier. This is meant to bring out the concept of eternal recurrence again and signify the eternality of the “Big Crunch” and the timeless rebirth of  identical universes.

As stated in my learning agreement, I am working with a pre-existing track in order to gain insight in how music videos are made. This scene is meant to make the most of using visuals with sound. Therefore, the actual animation is strongly connected to to the audio by use of semi-complicated code, which extracts the data of the audio (the treble and the bass more accurately) and tunes it to certain actions.

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scenes 4 and 5: moirae and the trumpet

The 4th scene is a continuation from the previous one, where after the Big Crunch, a line is released and as the camera follows it, it appears to be a thread held by a hand. In greek mythology, the Moirae, most commonly known as the “Fates”, were a deity meant to control the destiny of everyone, including the other gods. They are often depicted and described as three old women.

The idea behind this, was to show how the lifeline of the universe had reached its end. Originally, the thread was meant to be cut by scissors but I decided against it, as they would look really out of place. As far as the technical side of things goes, ever since discovering After Effects’ potential of 3d, I felt the need to create a three-dimensional room which can be “entered”. While not emphasized in the actual animation, it was an important part of my learning experience, as its commercial uses are quite wide.

The 5th scene is meant to portray an angel blowing the trumpet which signals the Apocalypse and the rising of the dead, a concept found in fragments of both Christian and Islamic eschatology. The representation of the angel was quite problematic, as I favored a more symbolic and less obvious metaphor. In the end, I chose to work with strong geometrical shapes, thinking that the this sort of “mathematical” representation would bring the focus to the spiritual rather than its physical manifestation. Technically, this wasn’t as easy, as I had to make this character work in three dimensions in a number of scenes. While not ideal, I am however satisfied with the end result.

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scene 3

This scene is meant to be a mixture of religion and science. I have never found the two to collide, at least on a theoretical level…definitely not in art.

The start is based off christian eschatology, which presents two gargantuan creatures during the Apocalypse, the first being Leviathan, the serpent in the ocean, the second being Behemoth, resembling a rhinocerus in shape.

I chose to depict the Behemoth in a way that is reminiscent of primitive cave paintings which, to me, hold some strong connection with man’s way of dealing with awe and greatness in nature, leading to the need to dream of gods and other mythical beasts. The image of the creature is first introduced as a series of incomprehensible lines appearing, making a reference to early (or better yet “primitive”) computer art, a sort of tribute to the demoscene among other things.

The second part is a more “scientific” depiction of the “Big Crunch” described earlier, meant to show the concept of all life and matter collapsing into a single point. This is strengthened by the figures that are introduced near the end of the scene and appear to fall into the wormhole. My aim was to create a strongly cinematic sequence which could best describe the magnitude of such an event. Also, as pointed out to me by some fellow students, the people entering the “crunch” look a lot like spermatozoa entering the ovary. While not intentional, I found that to work quite well with the concept of eternal recurrence. The end of one universe is the beginning of another.

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scene 2

In this scene i wanted to demonstrate the idea of people gathering to their final destination. Although it is not made clear where they’re headed, it is meant to bring out the concept of “convergence”.

Originally this scene was meant to depict a celebration coupled with 4 hooded figures walking into the mouth of a huge wolf, making a reference to Fenrir, the wolf appearing in Norse mythology. After some though, I decided against it as, not only did it not give out the feeling of a collective destination, it also looked really out of place.

Instead, there is a figure in the center who resembles Kali, a Hindu godess asocciated with death and destruction. While the figure is not a standard depiction of her, I have mainted several elements of the way she is depicted in Hindu religions, including her “yantra”, which helps make the connection a lot easier. Additionally, this also allowed for a more interesting and abstract landscape, making the whole scene more “mystical”. In retrospect, I am certain that using Kali instead of Fenrir was the right choice in terms of visuals and setting the right atmosphere.

On a more technical side, I have also used video footage in this scene, as I find it to be one of After Effects’ strongest assets. This aspect of the program’s potential interests me greatly and I felt like demonstrating its potential. This scene also marks my first attempt at “motion tracking”. Given that I had neither the knowledge or equipment to do that properly, the term is used very loosely. In reality, I filmed one of my housemates in the backyard and then used his movement as point of reference for my figures.

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another amazing demo

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Scene 1 – Ouroboros

The word “ouroboros” describes a serpent-like figure that devours its own tail. It has been used to symbolise eternal recurrence and appears in several religions and philosophies that hold time to be cyclical instead of linear.

“Plato described a self-eating, circular being as the first living thing in the universe—an immortal, mythologically constructed beast.

The living being had no need of eyes when there was nothing remaining outside him to be seen; nor of ears when there was nothing to be heard; and there was no surrounding atmosphere to be breathed; nor would there have been any use of organs by the help of which he might receive his food or get rid of what he had already digested, since there was nothing which went from him or came into him: for there was nothing beside him. Of design he was created thus, his own waste providing his own food, and all that he did or suffered taking place in and by himself. For the Creator conceived that a being which was self-sufficient would be far more excellent than one which lacked anything; and, as he had no need to take anything or defend himself against any one, the Creator did not think it necessary to bestow upon him hands: nor had he any need of feet, nor of the whole apparatus of walking; but the movement suited to his spherical form was assigned to him, being of all the seven that which is most appropriate to mind and intelligence; and he was made to move in the same manner and on the same spot, within his own limits revolving in a circle. All the other six motions were taken away from him, and he was made not to partake of their deviations. And as this circular movement required no feet, the universe was created without legs and without feet.

I wanted this scene to be the first one because it would act as a sort of preparation for the viewer. I chose to depict it in black and white and have no reference of scale or space. This, I believe, best describes the idea of something eternal and timeless, existing beyond wolrds and galaxies.

Also, looking into film and animation, I wanted to overcome the monotonous transitions I used for my previous work, where everything leads to a solid black or white in preparation of a new scene. For this scene transition, for instance, I’m having the gateway opening from the previous scene, reveal the ouroboros.

Early sketches for the creature:


Scene Screenshots:

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Scene 0-Intro

I felt the need, before proceeding to the actual animation, to create a sort of self-indulgent scene, which is also a tribute to the demoscene, in which I demonstrate my advancement with After Effects and a couple of new cool tricks I picked up along the way between now and the previous unit. I thought of having the camera evidently moving in 3d space but decided against it, as I’d rather keep something like that for later.

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