ANIMALIA SUM is an animated short VR 360 video / application hybrid with some light, embodied, 3 degree-of-freedom interactions on the Oculus Go. It’s a mockumentary exploring the potential of whether or not humans should consider moving from animals to insects as their primary source of protein.
The visual aesthetic is very striking in that they primarily use hand-sculpted minatures that have been volumetrically-captured with photogrammetry, rigged in Cinema 4D, animated by a mix of hand animations and a Perception Neuron Motion Capture suit, edited in Adobe Premiere, and then imported into a 360 video player wrapped in a Unity application in order to add additional embodied interactions.
The workflow and production pipeline of this piece is unique and extremely impressive as the creators Bianca Kennedy and The Swan Collective were able to achieve a unique, hand-crafted aesthetic that has a lot more character than the typical, purely CGI-generated art has. They’re able to infuse additional layers of personality and charm to add to the already humorous send-up of the classic British nature documentary in the vein of David Attenborough.
It’s hard to fully describe the experience of ANIMALIA SUM, but at the heart, it’s a light-hearted comedy that continues to surprise and delight for the entire 9-minute duration.
I had a chance to catch up with Felix Kraus, founder of The Swan Collective, as well as Kennedy to talk about the evolution of this project, their experiential design process, the difficulties in trying to storyboard and plan a piece like this versus just iteratively creating it, their production pipeline process for this piece, as well as how they were able to overcome the throughput challenges of Sundance New Frontier by having five seats during the ticketed sessions at the Ray.
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE OF THE VOICES OF VR PODCAST
Here’s a trailer for ANIMALIA SUM that gives you a sense of the visual aesthetic:
Here’s some footage of their Sundance screening installation at the New Frontier at the Ray location:
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