The renowned digital artist, aka Bradley Munkowitz, uses a water and smoke system to simulate a swell of energy for the collaborative Z by HP project.
HP brought together seven international artists to collaborate on The Living System, a new animated short film that explores energy, creation, and adaptive environments. In the film from Z by HP’s diverse team of global creatives, cellular worlds morph into mesmerizing fluid simulations, and vast mountain ranges and lush cityscapes become overgrown with flora. Inspired by nature, the elements, and universal energy, the team pushes the boundaries of their art through experimentation with creative tools.
Renowned digital artist and director GMUNK (aka Bradley Munkowitz) contributed a chapter for the film that explores nature in its infancy, using a water and smoke system with sharp terrains and striking lighting to portray a swell of energy through simulations created in Bifrost.
“With COVID-19 closures and restrictions, nature has truly been one of the only places that we’ve been able to go out and take a walk, hike, find spiritual respite, soul search, and cleanse our visual palettes,” GMUNK shared. “The film dives deeper into nature and portrays the perfect energy system that we all share and are able to tap into for creativity. The short starts at a molecular level and builds 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’d be able to share with the world.”
To develop his chapter, GMUNK returned to Maya – following an extended hiatus from 3D work to focus on design and directing – and learned Bifrost using tutorials to familiarize himself with the tool. Gleaning inspiration from his live-action high-speed cinematography work, GMUNK set his scene in Maya to 1,000 frames per second to capture slow-motion, 3D fluid sims. “I wanted to make a portal of water, so I created the sim with a shape spiraling around it, and then I animated strobing light sources behind it,” he explains. “I used Bifrost to sketch with water, and it was really the only way I could make this happen. By capturing my high-speed cinematography work in 3D and creating these meshes in Bifrost where everything is connected, I was able to achieve these beautiful sculptures of frozen moments in time.”
Following the film’s release, GMUNK plans to continue experimenting with Bifrost and hopes to 3D print simulations from the film to use with projection mapping. “Learning, experimenting, and growing as an artist are always the most enjoyable and rewarding parts of the work I do,” he added. “Creative adrenaline is released when you’re uncomfortable, and there’s beauty in that when you’re working hard to achieve that lightbulb moment. Moving out of your comfort zone and pushing out of your boundaries is part of the creative process – and how masterpieces are achieved.”