Crystalline Sound - Soho launched in London last night to much interest from the public, making their way up and down Wardour Street. Conceptualised by Directors Bison at A+ and Post Produced (and commissioned by) Finish for their window.
Dave Bullivant (one half of Bison) comments ‘I think its hugely exciting to see the project in situ, in a physical space. So often our work is released on the internet and we don’t get to see people’s faces, their honest and instant reactions. A child walked passed (see picture) and shouted ‘Look Dad!! 3D!! Wow!’. That was great’.
‘The original concept’, notes Dave ‘came when we were walking Owen’s dog (Owen Silverwood the other half of Bison) around a cemetery. Crystals are a real challenge in 3D, so it felt like a good place to start. We toyed around with lots of different ideas from live generation to the limits of what’s possible with render farms or photo realism.’
‘Yes’ adds Owen, ‘Crystals were very much in our conscious from the beginning. The turning point was connecting with Soho, the history and the heritage. If we could create something that captured that then we’d have done something that felt important to both of us’.
Dave comments that ‘Soho is traditionally seen as a dirty, seedy place, so the idea of representing the actual sound from a street in Soho in a really clean and pristine way was really appealing. To take something dirty and make it beautiful’.
Challenging you might imagine in many ways, both Owen and Dave note that the most unusual element for them was working with a partner, having often done their own Post. Owen notes that ‘to have a partner who could realise the vision in our heads, without having to worry about file management and just focus on the concept was liberating’.
Dave adds ‘the most exciting moment for us was the first time we saw a render, just a still frame. We saw what he (3D Artist, Alaric Holberton) could do and had an idea of how good this was going to be. It far surpassed how good we thought it could be, so we were really happy’.
Owen also notes that ‘this was the most clearly defined project we’ve ever done. The result of working with such a skilled partner meant we were able to create exactly what we’d envisaged but it also gave us the freedom to play around and develop within that vision.’
What’s worth noting is the scope of what has been achieved here. Bison and Finish have created a crystal system that now allows you to input any series of sounds, including music and generate 3D crystal growth to visually represent those sounds.
3D Artist Alaric says that he ‘really enjoyed it because Bison’s enthusiasm helped fuel my desire to make it the best it could possibly be and to push technical boundaries. A technical project with heart if you like’.
He started off with the crystal system using ‘randomly generated attributes until we had some sound to work with. Once we had the sound, the challenge was getting meaningful information from the noise to enable an interesting relationship between the sound and the
crystals. We had to grow the crystals without them colliding and think about the speed of the camera movement versus the speed of crystal growth’.
Once the technical side of creating a crystal system was nailed it was off to the ‘hippy shop’ to buy some crystals, to ensure the texture and feel was accurate then apply work- flow considerations etc to get the best result for all involved’.
He finally adds that ‘it is incredibly satisfying to take a project as far as you can, to really push yourself and the technology you’re using.’