Monday, 31 October 2011

First batch of Scenes.

You Tube is being very slow so the next batch will arrive tomorrow morning.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Lifecycle of a Mushroom: Fourth Draft


Specific Immune System

T-Cell, B-Cell and Phagocyte fighting bacteria. Renders without post, except the first one which has blur and fog.

The shaders are very reactive to lighting conditions, so sometimes they appear darker and sometimes brighter.

As said before, while trying to make everything seem scientific there had to be at least a bit of personality in the models. The T-Cell is the most aggressive and determined of the group, it's responsible for double checking on infections, raising the alarm (releasing cytokines) and it also has the ability to attack and kill cancer cells.

The second image shows the b-cell which I wanted to show as a large battle-ship type of cell, able to identify pathogens and release proteins that can bind them together. However, since it has to wait for the T-Cell to double-confirm its job it needed to look at bit more developed than the others. The dark nucleus type of inner life came out well to show its more complex role I think. In this shot they have just appeared on the horizon, and now they're approaching the bacteria.

The last image is a bit hard to identify without the post work done. It shows our phagocyte attacking bacteria. Phagocytes are less picky about their enemies and they basically engulf everything that appears foreign to them. We wanted to represent their "naivety" with a marshmallow type of shape. A bit like the silliest kind of ghost from ghost busters. The way it moves also reflects this. Also, it doesn't really have much going for inner life in our depiction. I think its simple "eat and digest" task is represented alright like this.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Lifecycle of a Mushroom: Third Draft

Slight delay... 95% complete one. There's a glitch with one of the radial wipes, thats already been fixed. Other than that, minor tweaks to the timing following feedback and just the titles and end to go...

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Lifecycle of a Mushroom: Second Draft

Closing in on the final animation. Text slides to be added next as well as increasing the strength of the vignette on a couple of the scenes. A couple of border issues too it seems. Will fix those!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Lifecycle of a Mushroom: Animation First Draft

  • The start has been cut off for some reason.

  • I haven't quite finished the Mushroom sequences at the end and it's missing a couple of rendered sequences.

  • The text cards are still the ones from the original animatic. Will be changing those...

  • Obviously with the deadline looming I dont really have time to drastically change things. I don't think I need to change things drastically so mostly I'm looking for feedback on the editing and pace of things really.

Specific Immune System

The way I have chosen to illustrate the immune system relies on showing most of the types of cells that play a role. My inital problems with a 3-5 animation on the subject were about knowing where to draw the line. Certain things can't be included and others have to be. I was thinking that to be able to give a truthful impression of the complexity of the immune system, every gear in the machine needed to have its place in the story. After expressing these problems I was motivated to shift my focus on making an animation that could get an audience excited rather than informed, so I moved away from the science part a bit, more towards an atmospheric approach while making sure to keep everything in a grown up tone. I have kept the seriousness and true information in the animation but stopped trying to explain it too much.

Science and Entertainment

What has come out of this approach is much more freedom for slightly more keen visuals and certainly a more exciting overall feel. At first, I tried to keep the narrator voice in it, but I realized that it makes no sense to try and explain scientific facts with a medium that is meant for entertainment. I'd have preferred to make events in the animation more complete and absolutely logical but this other approach works in its own right. However, I did not want to get rid of all the scientific facts. A narrator speaking to the audience would have represented a third party in the experience of watching the animation and the illusion of a story would have been impossible, thus removing any captivating effect from the animation. Without actually being able to be scientific about the subject, I still wanted to keep the tone of this approach. This would have to translate a bit like serious entertainment, if something like that could exist. The solution would be the choice to include the names of the cells as 3D text in the film. This would present a nice balance between the experience of a story, and a slight Brechtian alienation effect of actual scientific truth. Enertainment, but not too much, truth, but not too serious. (I also found the placement of roles - the story being the magic by which the subconscious would be willing to be seduced - and the scientific content being the Verfremdungseffekt, quite amusing for an audience of biology students). Maybe a subconscious impact could be caused this way, a waking of a sense of magic and eagerness for discovery in the audience in their otherwise often theoretical domain.

On Camera

In the 3D domain, the view through which everything that happens is to be observed is most often forgotten. I'm not claiming to be an expert on camera work, but I do know how to make relevant choices. Two exteremely important tools in my work are always scale and perspective. While talking about visuals, to me it is evident that perspective and scale are the major controllers of emotion: They can be used to put the audience in a certain place, they dictate whether the world is big or small and which parts of it are reachable. I think they are more important than content and even color and as far as visuals are generally used to affect logic and audio to affect emotion, perspective and scale are the unsung and extremely powerful exceptions.

My idea is to give a sense of exploration to the experience of observing a process that is larger than the ego. I think this is an interesting approach: Magnifying this process what is generally perceived to be much smaller than the ego to make it much larger and to bring out its amazing force. I've therefor chosen to create a cave-like environment which does not specifically represent a certain location in the human body, but rather an unknown spectacular place. I have given the camera a mix of controlled movements of exploration and delayed reaction to movement of the unknown. I've also tried to limit my tendency of creating lengthy shots and overly "floaty" movements. I hope that the movement of the camera will be able to dictate the correct expectations to the audience and lead them into believing that while watching, they are amazed.


I have depicted the invisible inside of the body as liquid. Atmospheric density plays a key role in the visual style in this case. The design of cells, the environment and the shading in the short are based on microscopic imagery to reflect the remaining scientific tone. I've tried to move cells just far away enough from their reality so that they could become recognizable and characteristic. There are no direct shadows and no logical direct light sources in the visuals and I've tried to reduce the use of dark areas in general. I have used light and brightness to represent life and a lot of subtle color variation to give a sense of playfulness to the depicted processes.


There are no direct sounds under water and for the first time I'm trying to work without sound effects. Sound effects are a way of creating proximity and the audience uses the auditive clues to assess situations more than through visuals. (The typical example of the horror film without the audio not being horrifying.) Instead of creating impact with sounds cued to visual events I want to hold the audience at a certain distance from the depicted events. This will further ensure that the spectator knows that they are only observing carefully, not interacting and treading lightly as not to disturb the magic.

Without sound effects, music must take on the role of guiding emotions and creating different levels of urgency. Music is being written by my brother Tom Winandy. We have decided on a mix of classical and electronic music to try and create the sound of an epic and modern experience.

Interpreting the unknown

We as humans would like to know in what sign an event stands. I am using color, light position, camera movement, scale and music to suggest these informations very slightly. Mostly though, a subtle distance from the depicted events should ensure that not too much judging and assessing is being done while watching.

And finally

I have had much less time to work on this project as I had planned, because important and pressing opportunities have risen up in the middle of production. I have therfor taken on board another designer who is helping with production at this late stage and this is also why I'm not writing the music myself. We are doing our very best to deliver the quality that was promised on time and I apologize for not being able to actively contribute enough to the spectacular science project and blog as a whole.

Here's a composite:

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Lifecycle of a Mushroom: Mycelium Speed Tests

Slowed down in Premier so it looks a little framey, once decided I'll re-render everything correctly. 60% and 75% seem to retain the speed I want but with less headache inducing side-effects. Thoughts?




Lifecycle of a Mushroom: Mycelium Emerges

Not sure whether this is working or not, my main concern is with the speed and the flashing effect... Opinions?

Monday, 17 October 2011

Friday, 14 October 2011

Lifecycle of a Mushroom: Karyogamy and Meiosis scene

Comped together and added to the music. Ignore the cross fade at the start, it's only temporary!

Thursday, 13 October 2011


Just a few weeks left so I figured I'd get my beta version up for some additional input. A couple of things I'm currently figuring out. I've been mixing music for the last week as well as rendered out some videos and playing around in After effect.

This is the best music I've managed to come up with thus far. Tried five different versions from really ambient/atmospheric to more upbeat/cartoony. Neither where really fitting so I settled on this which is a little of both worlds, I guess.

Another major thing is; does this really need a voice-over to explain the details? I've gotten to a point where I'm blind as far as how first impressions goes. Does the message and phases of fighting an infection get conveyed enough purely through the animation or is more information needed? As in a voice-over.

C&C on all aspects of the animation and how to fix issues and better it are obviously welcome!


This is the second iteration of this, I have dialled back a few things, the animation on the droplet needs a little more refinement and I may put a little push on the cam.

Working in post should make these changes fairly simple.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Lifecycle of a Mushroom: Some completed renders.

These are pretty indicative of what the final animation is going to look, for these scenes at least. Not much to go now...

Lifecycle of a Mushroom: Improved Basidium animation (single)

Added an extra up and down movement, which will give me a little more room for random movement. Also added the Basidiospore growing from the appendages, I'll give them a separate texture.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Lifecycle of a Mushroom: Basidium Render test

I wanted to see what the Basidium will potentially look when rendered with animation. This is lacking shadows to distinguish between the various elements which will be added to the final render but looking nice none the less.

Lifecycle of a Mushroom: Mushroom Growth Animation

Lifecycle of a Mushroom: Travelling through the Mushroom

I've been thinking of ways that I can show the transition from the outside of the mushroom into the microscopic level of the mushroom. Using a technique I developed a little while back, I think i've come up with an elegant solution to this problem. In my animatic the transition is an extremely ugly and cumbersome cross fade, which doesn't fit in with the overall editing and visual style. The aim here is to simulate the feeling of travelling up through the mushroom (the concentric circles) to discover the world within.