Mohammad

This is an idea I came up with a few years ago, but was one of numerous projects I couldn’t get funding for and got shelved.  But with my new maverick attitude, I might pursue this in my own time in the future, using Processing.  In the storyboards below however, I’ve used one of my all time favourite pieces of software, XFrog.

This was the original synopsis.

“An animated cartoon of Prophet Mohammad.

It’s attention grabbing isn’t it, but in this case for the right reasons. 

This film looks at Islamic calligraphy from an experimental computer animator’s point of view, by taking Mohammad’s signature as a visual motif and evolving it to create a dazzling, beautiful and spiritual art piece.

Calligraphy is esteemed as the highest art form within Islam, and the only allowable means of representing Mohammad visually. 

Counter to what those Danish cartoonists done, I want to do something that provokes in a positive and enlightening way, and create something that transcends the paranoid perceptions of westerners and non-Muslims, and which also shows respect for Islamic law and celebrates its art.

The actual computer animation technique used will employ 3d plant/tree modelling software, used in this case to create/grow/evolve the actual handwritten signature of Mohammad much like trees and plants themselves, but in a more abstract, complex and artistic way.

I am also a musician and will create the soundtrack.  For me it is crucial that it’s contemporary and upbeat, and deliberately not ‘Arabic’ or ‘call to prayer’ in tone, as one might expect.  The film is not about a culture, or a race of people, but about a sophisticated spiritual art form, expressing a beloved religious figure’s handwritten name.  In a way the music, and the film itself, should be beyond religion.

I’ve been a Buddhist for about 10 years now, and see this also as an opportunity to step outside my own ‘boundaries’ and look into the good of other religions and draw from its spiritual art, and hopefully through good karma and/or divine direction, I can produce something meaningful and healing, and set an example for others.”

And here’s the storyboard.

God, enlightenment, heaven, life, death, rebirth, mind, the universe. 

It’s not that I have a particular fascination with these themes, it’s just that they seem to creep into and shape everything I do unless someone tells me to do otherwise.

However, for me, religious and spiritual art need not always be an intense, mysterious, cosmic affair, as with most of my films.  Here are a  couple of projects that had different motivations.

 

Karmacino

This was the name of a website me and friend setup a while ago.  It was sort of a Digg.com for Buddhists, were people could post Buddhist related articles, news and stories from around the world, discussing and voting on them. 

We dreamt up the name Karmacino – a fusion of Karma and Cappuccino, which was the kind of the relaxed, enlightened atmosphere we wanted to create.  So we needed a logo, some branding and design work.  I came up with this idea of using a Bodhi leaf (classic Buddhist symbol) and a cappuccino/latte, created in 3ds Max.

I also wanted to create some wallpaper art based on this logo, using a repeating pattern technique I have refined over the years using After Effects.  I’ll write more on this technique in the future, and how my new direction using Processing will allow me to develop it much further.

The website is no more, it was just too much hassle trying to keep it up and running!

All that arises must pass away 🙂

 

Latte-mation

As a spin-off idea from the original Karmacino logo, I had a bit of fun with some animated latte art, this was just a test, done in 3ds Max.  The latte art itself was animated separately as a texture in After Effects, I then brought everything across as a separate colour/bump/displacement map into 3d.  Was a nice creative challenge to get the right look of frothy milk and coffee mixing together to create forms, everything from mandalas, Buddha statues and the Bodhi leaf itself.