Infinite

 

2012

Contribution: All aspects (except Music Score)

Project Duration: 1 year

Software: Photoshop, Maya, After Effects, Premiere

Images:

 

Description:

In our world we pride ourselves on who we are and what we want to become. Often times creating our identities through the things we see around us. However, not everyone is in the right place to be able to find their identity.

Infinite is a short story of a ball’s attempt to fit into a world that doesn’t seem to have a place for it. Despite its optimism, it manages to leave a trail of destruction behind it, causing everyone to hate it. But even when you may not be able to see your place in the world, you still have a place in the universe….
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As part of the ID:ENTITY gallery show that opened up in November 2011, I made a short film that dealt with the theme of, you guessed it, identity. This is the first short film I have done at NC State. To be honest, between the 47 foot wide poster and all the other visual assets I did for the show I don’t see how I finished this in time, but I did!

Here is the synopsis of the 2 minute film:

In our world we pride ourselves on who we are and what we want to become. Often times creating our identities through the things we see around us. However, not everyone is in the right place to be able to find their identity.

Infinite is a short story of a ball’s attempt to fit into a world that doesn’t seem to have a place for it. Despite its optimism, it manages to leave a trail of destruction behind it, causing everyone to hate it. But even when you may not be able to see your place in the world, you still have a place in the universe.

Working within the theme of identity I decided I wanted to tell a story of something trying to find its identity. I chose to work with basic geometric shapes because they are null objects that people don’t usually associate with having an identity, and also because I wanted to focus on the idea of trying to fit in, which I felt lends itself easily to shapes. With my character shapes defined I jumped into creating the storyboards. My initial story plot revolved around the idea of an alienated pyramid shape that’s rejected when it tries to fit in with a few other shapes who are fishing. After giving up and walking away the pyramid notices they are being chased by a giant geometric fish and are each running to their corresponding tents, marked with their shape. The pyramid ends up beating the cube to its tent and fits in because it has a square base. After critiquing it I realized the resolution came too easily and I should also find a way to communicate the theme better visually.

For the second draft of the story I was inspired by the concept of the short film “Zero”, written and directed by Christopher Kezelos. The idea of social rank being told through numbers that the characters bore on their chest brought me to the observation that individuals of the same social class tend to stick together to amplify themselves as a whole. I also began to look at the number zero as a ball. Bringing these ideas back into my story, I changed my alienated shape to a sphere, and for the other characters I chose shapes that were able to build upon themselves to make a bigger version of themselves. My plot now centered on the ball as it went from one shapes territory to the next, trying to physically stack up with the other shapes, only to cause them all to fall. Each time the ball moves on to another shape, they treat it more and more hostile. I referenced the comical style and silent film aesthetic from the factory scene in “Modern Times” by Charlie Chaplin, along with the three level hierarchy of the story structure found in the Pixar short film “For The Birds”, directed by Ralph Eggleston.

This led me to the current version of the film, however the ending was different. It ended by pulling out of the planet, revealing the universe, and out of the universe revealing an atom, all while transitioning into color. The idea was to show the sphere fit in with both the universe (large scale) and the atom (small scale). It was changed again due to being too blunt in comparison to the rest of the film. Also the transition to color took away from the visual language of the rest of the film. These changes took an additional 4 months to complete during my spare time but proved worth it.

Besides story development I did face some technical challenges  in spite of the simple geometry. One of these challenges being finding a way to make the 3D appear 2D and still fit the aesthetic of my story plot. I did a lot of experimenting and resulted in using a ramp toon shader with a noise node plugged into it. I also played with the use of the (rand) expression to create random shifts in the noise attributes and toon line widths. In the end toon lines were rendered on their own layer and composited on top of everything as a homage to the traditional process of Cel Animation.

The biggest hurdle was in the constructing of the scene where all of the cubes fall over. This shot is composed of 4 separate nCloth dynamic simulations, which I cached out into their own separate files, and loaded them all into one file with keyframed visibility. To aid the direction of boxes as they fell I set up invisible planes for each simulation. Each simulation starts off as a duplicated version of where the previous ended. Fortunately due to simple geometry and the use of toon shaders rendering did not take long at all.

So far Infinite has been accepted into two film festivals, FilmSpark (2012) and The Carrboro Film Festival (2012). They both have been amazing experiences to have been a part of and hear all the great feedback. Please feel free to let me know what you think of the film as well!

Press:

FilmSpark 2012 Trailer 

Official Film Selection List – FilmSpark 2012

Official Film Selection List – Carrboro Film Festival 2012

Carrboro Film Festival 2012 Interstitials

 

Carrboro hosts its seventh annual Carrboro Film Festival - November 26, 2012 – Carrboro Commons

Carrboro Film Festival featured 33 short films - November 19, 2012 – Daily Tarheel

Carrboro Film Festival - November 16, 2012 – Chapel Hill Visitor’s Bureau

Carrboro Film Festival Guide - November 14, 2012 – Chapel Hill News

Carrboro’s Silver Screen - November 14, 2012 – Chapel Hill Magazine

Carrboro Film Festival Kicks Off Sunday - November 14, 2012 – Chapelboro.com

Carrboro Film Festival: 33 shorts for 7 bucks - November 14, 2012 – Chapel Hill News

Mark Your Calendar for the Seventh Carrboro Film Festival - October 24, 2012 – Chapel Hill Magazine

The Carrboro Film Festival - September 10, 2012 – Chapel Hill Recorder

2012 Carrboro Film Festival Currently Accepting Submissions - September 1, 2012 – Chapelboro.com

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