More often than not, the pipeline for a project gets overshadowed by the end result. The process of getting from point A to B is often overlooked because point B is just sooo damn sexy. But it doesn’t have to be that way. No really, it doesn’t.
In the summer of 2007, Nando Costa approached Barbarian Group and asked if we would help out with a project his new motion graphics company Nervo was working on for Fox Movies Japan. He showed us the boards and instantly we knew we wanted to collaborate because his vision for this project was quite beautiful and surreal.
What he needed from us was videos of flocking behavior. He had seen the previous experiments I have done with perlin noise flocking and thought it would work well for this project. All he wanted was a couple videos of flocking using a 3D crow (or is it a raven) he would provide. Simple enough. But given the tight deadline, the thought of doing a render and posting it and waiting for approval or changes and then implementing the changes then rerendering and reposting, etc… That process didn’t make sense for this project so we decided to deliver them an application instead.
Using Processing, we started playing around with the flocking behavior to make it more customizable. The original version of the flocking experiment had very few controls and they had to be hard-coded. There was no run-time adjustment. This was the first thing addressed. Several new parameters were added. They included population density, gravity, drag, collision avoidance, flight range, camera position and tracking, and a few toggles such as tethering strings, floor plane, and bezier curves. Once the parameters were tweaked to the user’s liking, they need only to hit the spacebar and an image sequence of PNGs would start saving to the harddrive.
Once he had the exported image sequence, it was pretty easy to put it into a post processing application and work his magic. See one of the final spots below. Or you can view them on the Nervo.tv website. The birds where used in the top three spots.