Palace of the Ancients
This is an experimental short film that celebrates the beauty, patterns and intricacy of Islamic architecture. Inspired by the stunning kaleidoscopic architecture effects in the first Doctor Strange film, I wanted to recreate that effect using a style of architecture that already has complex mathematical patterns. Drawing inspiration from architecture found in Morocco, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other regions in the middle east, I aimed to design something that showcases the patterns and details on every surface. I animated as many elements as possible in each shot to create a sense of constant motion and fluidity. I wanted to create a space that felt mystical. Where ancient magic and complex mathematics coexist. The end result is a mesmerizing and surreal visual experience that invites the viewer to discover the beauty and intricacy of Islamic art and culture.
I used Houdini to model and animate every single mathematical structure from scratch (except the plants). This was a very demanding and time-consuming process, but also very rewarding. I wanted to create a prismatic psychedelic effect with continuous motion that evokes a feeling of running water, and so I animated everything that could be animated. In addition to all of the geometry being animated, I also designed and animated kaleidoscopic patterns in After Effects that I then used as displacement maps on all of my textures to add an extra layer of animation. The result is a hypnotic short film that showcases the beauty and diversity of islamic architecture.
I began by designing and modeling each individual element based on references of islamic architecture that I found. Once I had the basic shape, I would then animate it to continually rotate. After the rotation, I would slice it in half and mirror it or clone it and mirror it. This provided the basis for the kaleidoscopic architecture effect.
For the textures, I used Midjourney to generate black and white tiled islamic-inspired patterns. I would then bring those into after effects to animate them with a kaleidoscopic effect and export them as an image sequence so that I could use them as animated displacement maps in 3D. Additionally, I brought other texture maps like bricks or stone into after effects and used a plug in called 'Loop Flow' to animate them so that they continuously loop. Then I would export them as image sequences and use them as animated 3D textures. The effect of this is super trippy!
Design & Animation: Ian Frederick
Music & Sound Design: Abel Okugawa