Sunday, April 18, 2010

Stop. Relax. Think again. Keep the plants.

After doing a bit of storyboarding last week I became increasingly tired with the whole thing. At one point I was even contemplating giving it up altogether. But I have made promises to myself and others earlier, and so there's no chickening out.

The way I have planned this, it would take an entire summer to make it. That's not the biggest trouble, though. I found out that I don't like doing traditional storytelling work, I don't like drawing storyboards, actually I don't have much fun pinning the whole thing down in advance - at all.

What I have fun with though, is progress through experiments. I like building stuff on the fly, and discovering cool things to do with it while I do it. I usually have a very rough outline for what I'd like to do with it, and I decided to keep it that way.

So, I decided I'll kick the story, and just keep the plants. We went to the park this afternoon and looked at the succulents in the tropical house again, also took some photos. I started to think about programming plants that grow, very much like real plants do.

I find it weird that we, the rational people, like to demonstrate to religious lunatics that there is no god, and evolution is a much likelier theory than intelligent design, yet our 3D artists play god all the time: plants, people, cities, everything is modeled thing by thing - no evolution to see here. All hand-picked and hand-animated.

I will therefore attempt to write a program that can make plants grow from very simple parameters, and have these plants actually look like something, and respond like actual physical objects.

I admit, I have not much of a clue how to do it. Maybe generate a skeleton of support bars, and skin that skeleton with plant material. I don't know how far I will get, but the result will certainly allow much wider parametrization, and yield enough material to fill seven minutes worth of time without becoming boring.

Not every piece of entertainment needs a story. What happened to good old wonder? Can't we just make things that amaze people without meaning anything? Even animal documentaries need a narrator - or do they? Why don't we let the pictures speak for themselves?

Is it strange to think that money can be made with videos that are like music? Wouldn't you watch a two hour movie that was filled with amazing stuff, without any story? I wish they had done that to Avatar. It would have made the second viewing so much better. %)

Anyway, moving on.


  1. The Quatsi trilogy was fairly successful - or at least has become quite well known.

  2. I like your approach! And yes, I would watch a two hour movie filled with amazing stuff, without any story. It can't be that much different from watching a demo competition. :)

  3. Right. -Qatsi is a real pointer to a new direction. Thanks guys for your input :)