In 2016, Timber in Santa Monica decided to join the Motion Poems organization’s yearly contest where a poetry theme is chosen by a committee, and art studios are invited to produce visual accompaniments. The theme in 2016 was black poets, and Timber chose “Sonnet After Chopin’s Requiem” by Monique-Adelle.
Visualizing poetry is a bit of a daunting task, and necessitates abstraction, so I joined their group of VFX artists to crank out as many abstract visualization ideas as we could, eventually converging on a theme of seeing sound (synesthesia). A month or two of editing and polish later, and we had our final piece.
Abstract graphics are both very possible and very fun in Houdini, so I had a great time prototyping ideas using all kinds of tricks: trailed curl noise projected onto surfaces, iterative growth solvers on curves, layering every kind of procedural noise I could think of as deformers on surfaces, you name it. One of the most fun tricks was growing surface fields using the curvature of the field as a mask for growth; this is a bit gimmicky nowadays but it can make for some truly weird organic patterns that resemble coral, internal organs, and other living structures.
The team at Timber is endlessly creative, and by far the most fun to work with of any motion design shop I’ve worked with. I hope you like the result!