June 5, 2002

This animation communicates a transformation.

I defined a heaven/hell scenario. However, I needed a strong symbol.I came up with a toy top with feathers. It is a symbolic vessel, and has strange contrasts. I trapped it within a hellish world, to later sprout feathers and fly to heaven.


I originally perceived a fairly wacky idea about a family of tops who watched a flock of geese fly over their heads. (If tops had heads). They would attempt to fly, jumping as best they could, but eventually all they could do was spin. Baby top, however, gets a little carried away, and falls down a set of magic stairs, only to sprout hands. Hands? Well, it's not exactly what he was expecting, but he rolls around with his new hands happily. The other tops see Baby's bizarre transformation, and they too, in turn fall down the magic stairs, allowing bizarre and wonderful things become added to their shape. I envisioned these tops to sprout feet, balloons, springs, lips… All of which would effect the way that they got around. Springs would allow them to bounce, hands would allow them to crawl. They experienced all these strange transformations, except wings. Dejected, they give up. Until baby top falls down the stairs one more time, and spouts feathers. Feathers are close to wings, and the instant Baby top spins, which is what tops are created to do, he begins to rise from the ground and is able to fly. The family follows suit, all spout feathers, and they all fly away into the sunset.

Very surreal in a Max Ernst, Salvador Dali sort of atmosphere. I still might pursue this story when I have a longer time period to finish it. But for this project, however, I communicated a transformation slightly differently.

Modeling and layout of the scene was done in three sections. The rain sequence, the spin sequence, and the launch sequence. Original the top was to be detailed slightly differently, as my idea changed once I realized that I couldn't render fast enough to meet deadline. So, I compromised certain things.

Raw environment model, unsurfaced. The model is upside down and rightside up at the same time, Escher-fied.

Environment model with "Limbo" surface.
I was attempting to approach photo-realism with the rain in this animation. If you look closely, the droplets will actually splash, bounce, and flow, depending on the angle they hit a surface. Uncomfortable wetness.

Just some conceptualizing. It's strange to put awkward things on tops, everything feels so out of place. Strange juxtapositions. Barbed Wire.

Sea Urchins. Actually, this fits in a bizarre way.

Dandelions. Soft and Hard.

Fire. The chicken pot-pie is burning. Overcooked.

Originally, I was planning on having a family of tops, and each would be a slightly different hue of Ivory.

As I came closer to my final concept, I tried to incorperate a layer of down feathers. Render times held me back.

Heavier layer of down. It also might have been interesting to have bits of fluff fly off as the top spun around.

Final model.

Feather ring. It reminds me of a
Native American Dream Catcher.

© 2002 GDUNNE