with short film
In Becoming, a time-lapse film by Jan van IJken (previously), a single cell splits. Then it splits again, and again, and again, morphing and quivering as new quadrants continually appear and divide. The cell belongs to an alpine newt, and during most of its transition from a single cell zygote to hatched larva it looks remarkably like a sunny-side up egg. The film’s rapid timeline condenses four weeks of growth into six minutes, presenting a speedy and awe-inspiring glimpse at how we all begin.
“I wanted to capture the origin of life,” van IJken tells Colossal. “What is particularly interesting I think, is that the basics of embryonic development are the same for all animals, including us. I think the way we develop is a true miracle. In my film you can see individual cells move to the place where they belong in the embryo. How is this possible? It is all managed by a precise internal clockwork in each individual cell.”
Van IJken used time-lapse photography and video in combination with a trinocular microscope to precisely observe the details of the newt’s development. You can view more of his work, including a trailer for his first film Facing Animals, on Vimeo.
Share this story
In EPOCH, the new short film by Irish director and animator Kevin McGloughlin, aerial images of the Earth are pieced together to compare the structural similarities of various suburbs, highways, and fields. When flashed one after the next, buildings and roads form circles and squares, while dozens of cul-de-sacs appear to elongate and morph as they flash on screen. The film bears many similarities in form and editing to his twin brother and collaborator Páraic McGloughlin’s short film from last April Arena, which also utilized Google Earth-sourced images to created fast-paced animated sequences. You can view more of Kevin McGloughlin’s shorts on his Instagram and Vimeo. (via Colossal Submissions)
Share this story
Laymun is a collaborative short film by directors Catherine Prowse (previously) and Hannah Quinn which follows the story of a gardener in a Middle Eastern war zone. The woman cultivates and spreads lemon trees as a way to bring hope to herself and community. The sets for the film were crafted from crumpled and sculpted paper over the course of six months, and the cut-out paper characters were scanned and added in digitally after the shoot. The directors chose this medium as a way to more accurately depict the tone they wished to bring across in their film.
“It was really important to us not to sentimentalize the ongoing violence in the Middle East and to communicate the precariousness of our character’s situation,” explain Prowse and Quinn. “So we explored the qualities of paper as a medium, crumpling and tearing to create a sense of fragility and vulnerability.”
The animated short has won several awards including the Royal Television Society Undergraduate Animation Award 2018, the International Animation prize at the Cardiff Mini Film Festival 2018, and the Short Film Prize at the World of Women Film Fair Middle East, among many others. You can see more of Prowse’s work on Vimeo and website in addition to Quinn’s work on her website. (via Short of the Week)
Share this story
Using modeling software and multi-material 3D printing, industrial designer Nicole Hone created a series of 4D-printed futuristic aquatic plants, or Hydrophytes, that are as full of character as the natural organisms they mimic. In the film of the same name, the hydrophytes are activated by pneumatic inflation in water, and transform into dynamic organisms that you could swear were actually alive.
“I have always been fascinated with nature,” the designer tells Colossal. “It inspires my design ideas and aesthetic. For this project, I became particularly interested in botany and marine life. I was amazed by the way sea creatures and corals moved, and I wanted to reflect similar qualities in my designs.” While working on her Master of Design Innovation thesis at Victoria University of Wellington, Hone learned about plans to redesign the National Aquarium in New Zealand. She thought that it would be interesting to develop a “future-focused exhibition” with moving models as an interactive installation for visitors. She began making test prints and discovered that the models moved best in water, which eventually became the pieces used in Hydrophytes.
Hone explains that software was used to create the shape, surface texture, and internal structures for the Hydrophytes. One benefit of the 3D printing system is that there can be a varying degree of hardness for the parts, but the machine can still handle printing them as a seamless object. During printing the works are encased in a support material, which Hone has to then painstakingly remove (sometimes a 4-hour process) by soaking them in water and using a toothpick. After cleaning, air is passed through the CGOs (computer generated objects) and they are placed in the underwater environments.
“They can respond to external forces such as gravity, water ripples or currents, and interaction with people or other 3D prints in real life,” Hone said. “Their man-made composite materials behave uncannily similar to living organisms.”
She went onto explain that each Hydrophyte has a unique character that is defined by both their style of movement and appearance. The colored lights that illuminate the printed plants were chosen to “complement each personality and amplify the emotive qualities of the film,” and the functions of each plant were inspired by the effects of climate change on marine species. “As the 4D printing experiments developed from abstract shapes into more plant-like models, their appearance and movement helped me think of which function would best suit each character,” she added. It’s fascinating to see the intersection of art and technology produce such a unique collection of objects. To view more of what Hone has created with her research, visit her website. (via Designboom)
Share this story
Swedish director and animator Anna Mantzaris has a penchant for the darkly humous as seen in her 2012 film But Milk is Important. Her recent short ENOUGH was made during her first year at the Royal College of Art where she graduated earlier this year. The stop motion film follows several kind-looking characters as they snap during everyday occurrences such as frustrating board meetings, dealing with demanding customers, or just narrowly missing the bus.
“I wanted to have quite soft and sympathetic characters, to contrast with the less soft actions,” Mantzaris explained to Directors Notes. “I also liked them to feel a bit awkward and uncomfortable, just as we can feel sometimes in social situations. I also wanted it to feel a bit grey and boring, to enhance the feeling of an everyday life that we sometimes want to break out from.”
The funny animation is a cathartic release of the darkness we carry bottled up inside, and showcases what might happen if you finally let yourself lose control. The London-based director recently worked on Wes Anderson’s film Isle of Dogs and has won several awards for her films including the Walt Disney Award for Best Graduation Film and the Audience Award at Ottawa International Animation Festival. You can see more of her short films on her website and Vimeo. (via Short of the Week)
Share this story
TINK is a colorful animation by motion design studio Mr. Kaplin that showcases the intricate workings of a fictional Rube Goldberg-like machine. At just 45 seconds long, the very short film takes a close look at several oddly shaped ball bearings, like an oblong one that leaps vertically through a rectangular box, or a line of cubed, metallic pieces that roll in single file down a bright yellow slope. The project evolved from a series of animation experiments created by the London-based studio this past April. You can view more of their animations on Instagram and Vimeo. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)
Share this story
Editor's Picks: Design
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.