Through a combination of powerful imagery and atmospheric pace, Genesis dares us to fleetingly glimpse our own origins, our civilisation and the known universe. Drawing heavily on a visual currency distilled from the subconscious and the psychology of self, we are taken on a stark journey marrying rippling, organic forms with stern, unyielding geometry.
The main inspiration came from the unconscious mind after reading the book from Carl Jung "Man and His Symbols". We were astonished by how many symbols and their significance described in the book came similarly to many people all over the world. It turns out that for all of us our brains are kind of wired in the same way and most of symbols are created from an understanding of the world around us. These are then interpreted by our unconscious mind and also in our dreams.
These symbols are the focal point of our beloved story and we thought it would be interesting to recreate these in a purer more abstract form, this is where Genesis came from.
The whole piece is an abstract mash up, as from the beginning we said “it doesn't have to make perfect sense”. It was created more through feeling than regimented by strict design rules like we are used too. The main creative challenge was to make it “feel” right rather than to logically understand it because the main idea is so subjective. It is a good exercise because we are more likely to be the”thinking type” kind of people, it also freed us from the tyranny of logic in our daily lives.
During the process we had to refine some shots as we progressed through it to push them in different directions than previously thought which led us to some unexpected and pleasing things.
The grade and compositing was also challenging, we wanted to make the shots feel more photographic which took quite some time to get right. We had to make creative decisions for the look and colours of the film in order to maintain our dark aesthetic which is why we decided to restrict ourselves to an unsaturated cinematographic look.
As creatives in the motion industry we'd been feeling a little bit tired of the forever growing abstract style dictated only by what the software can do. I suppose it is a natural process but we are more interested in the application of these technologies rather than only for the technology itself.
Making of Genesis
At Panoply we like to live by the idea that our finished film is only as good as the weakest shot. This stands true for both technical and creative fronts, but on the technical side you can often be limited by time constraints especially when it comes to rendering. This meant that we paid a lot of attention to every shot even when some of them only lasted 16 frames. We wanted to create a film that could be paused at any moment and still look as good as it does in motion.
Houdini was the main program of choice for this project as it enabled us to create complex yet highly controllable structures and generative devices. Lots of the animation involved heavy simulations from cloth to fracturing to volumes – these take a long time to calculate and huge amounts of data storage to get to a production quality. Having fast hardware and very well optimised scenes in Houdini enabled us to achieve the high level of detail we where after whilst being able to complete on time.
Creating abstract forms can be easy if all you want to do is create randomness. The real challenge comes in controlling and directing these forms. We created everything to be as procedural as possible meaning all of our generative forms could be controlled even from the base level without affecting the end structure. This enabled us direct every shot down to it's finest details in order uphold our creative vision.