HP has brought together seven international artists to collaborate on The living system, a new animated short that explores energy, creation and adaptive environments. In Z’s film by HP’s diverse global creative team, cellular worlds transform into fascinating fluid simulations, and vast mountain ranges and lush cityscapes are overrun with flora. Inspired by nature, the elements and universal energy, the team pushes the limits of their art through the experimentation of creative tools.
Famous digital artist and director GMUNK (aka Bradley Munkowitz) contributed a chapter of the film that explores nature in its early days, using a water and smoke system with crisp terrains and striking lighting to portray a wave of energy through simulations created in Bifrost.
“With the closures and restrictions from COVID-19, nature has truly been one of the only places we have been able to get out and take a walk, hike, find spiritual respite, search for a soul, and clean our visual palettes,” GMUNK said. “The film delves deeper into nature and depicts the perfect energy system that we all share and that we can tap into for creativity. The short film starts at the molecular level and develops through different stages of water, air, plants, landscapes and cityscapes where nature has taken over. We came up with the concept as a creative exercise, but we knew that by taking on such an ambitious project, there would be a lot of amazing content produced that we could share with the world.
To develop her chapter, GMUNK returned to Maya – after a long hiatus from 3D work to focus on design and production – and learned Bifrost through tutorials to familiarize herself with the tool. Drawing inspiration from his live high-speed cinematic work, GMUNK set his scene in Maya at 1,000 frames per second to capture smooth 3D slow-motion simulations. “I wanted to create a water portal, so I created the simulation with a spiral shape around it, and then animated strobe light sources behind it,” he explains. “I used Bifrost to draw with water, and that was really the only way I could do it. By capturing my ultra-fast 3D cinematographic work and creating these meshes in Bifrost where everything is connected, I was able to create these beautiful sculptures of moments frozen in time.
After the film’s release, GMUNK plans to continue experimenting with Bifrost and hopes to print 3D simulations from the film for use with projection mapping. “Learning, experiencing and growing as an artist are always the most enjoyable and rewarding parts of my job,” he added. “Creative adrenaline is released when you’re uncomfortable, and there’s beauty when you work hard to achieve that light bulb moment. Stepping out of your comfort zone and pushing your limits is part of the creative process – and part of the way masterpieces are made. “