November 23, 2008
A few years ago I created a couple of TV spots for Guinness – short 10 sec sponsorship ads for Sky TV and the Rugby Six Nations Tournament. It was a mixture of live action and animation, with each ad having to end on the classic Guinness ‘Surge’ – the black liquidity motion of the pint settling.
However, my unique approach was to animate this part, and not only animate it, but use computer fractals, and just any computer fractals, but ‘Fractal Flames’ – a unique type of fractal discovered by software engineer & artist Scott Draves in the 1990′s.
I used the fabulous Apophysis - a piece of freeware software with which to create and animate Fractal Flames.
These particular type of fractals stand out as being visually complex, endless in variety, subtle in colour tones, and generally much more aesthetic – much more so than the Mandelbrot set, which is understandable as the Mandelbrot formula is a very simple piece of math compared to the fractal flame formula which is more of a long genetic code.
The short film above isn’t the actual TV ad, it’s just the animated Guinness part which I turned into a piece in itself.
Using Apophysis I discovered a fractal I thought contained similar shapes to wheat/barley – and thought this would be a good transitional idea by starting from a still picture of a field of barley, and blending this into the fractal stuff.
This is a raw still from the Apophysis output.
I rendered out a short, raw animated fractal sequence (which I’ll upload separately soon), and layered multiples of these together in After Effects, with the appropriate colour palette, to give a fairly good impression of the Guinness surge.
So one of my few minor claims in life is the first to animate Guinness for TV, and all using math
November 11, 2008
After receiving numerous requests to release some sort of program/app/code – I’ve decided to put out a call for ideas, features etc you’d like to see in such a program.
What’s the most amazing type of application you’d like to have ? A customisable music visualiser ? A light synthesiser ? A procedurally generative animation plaything ?
November 2, 2008
This is something I done a few years ago, and one of my favourite pieces in my portfolio.
It’s basically the contents of my internet browser cache, arranged by smallest size to largest, with Radiohead’s ‘Sit Down, Stand up’ as the music backing.
It all happened by accident. I was looking for a particular picture I had seen on a website, but couldn’t remember the site address, so I started scanning through the jpgs and gifs in my browser cache. I arranged the sort order from smallest file size to largest to help find it, I then just held down the right arrow key to flick through them all at a frenetic pace, and just by coincidence I was listening to Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief album. Watching the streaming blast of internet content along with the dark overtones of the music made an instant and provocative connection.
So I decided to make a video based exactly on this. First I copied about 7000 files out of my cache, enough to cover the length of the track. I then had to renumber the lot so that the smallest file would be named 00001 and so on – this was actually the most difficult bit – it took me about 2 days to find a piece of shareware renaming software what would actually rename and number files based on file size. This would allow me to import everything into After Effects in the desired order.
I then added one simple camera move to zoom into the imagery and fill the screen at the climax of the music.
Can trash be art?
The video speaks volumes I think about modern culture, media, celebrities, advertising, politics, consumerism. There’s something nauseating, relentless and spellbinding about it all, but only when seen in this context of menu bars, buttons, thumbnails and banners spat out like some sort of internet sewer.
With kind permission from Radiohead’s management, the video was featured at a screening night at the National Film Theatre in London, to a packed house and a distinguished industry panel giving it critical praise. I designed the poster for the event which was a still from The Drop (my video for Peter Gabriel).
Here’s the text from the flyer,
Thursday 19 February (8:45pm)
@ National Film Theatre, South Bank, SE1 (020.7928.3232) Tube: Embankment/Waterloo
Price: general £7.50 | concessions £5.70
Links: National Film Theatre | Johnny Hardstaff | Floria Sigismondi | Ruben Fleischer | The Directors Label
Antenna, the bi-monthly showcase that celebrates the very best in music videos, returns to the NFT this week with yet another selection of the latest and greatest in the genre. On the panel discussing the work this time is rising star Sam Arthur, director of the superb Royksopp’s “Poor Leno” video, and Karl Badger, head of promos website Video C. Joining them is commissioner John Moule, who’ll be discussing his latest work, including a Goldfrapp promo.
As usual the line-up of videos is under wraps, though revealed highlights include two gems from animation whiz Glenn Marshall — his short film The Drop and a never-before-seen test-film for Radiohead. Also on view will be the most recent work from previous panel member Dougal Wilson who’ll be screening his promo for Klonhertz. Book now to avoid disappointment — with music videos finally getting the recognition they deserve this will be a popular night.