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For Mari – Owl City’s “Lonely Lullaby” Unofficial Music Video

September 14, 2012

Neil’s Blog Post

This animation was inspired by a video by Daniel Wurtzel called “Magic Carpet.” In “Magic Carpet,” a sheet of red fabric continuously flies in and out of a vortex of air. I thought it was really beautiful and I watched it over and over again. take a look yourself and then come back…

So I love to create things based on what inspires me. I also love to experiment. I wanted to see if I could create a similar animation in 3D. Using Cinema 4D, I was able to create a plane to which I applied soft-body dynamics which gave it the physical characteristics of a silky cloth. I then added several instances of a wind emitter in a radial Cloner with varying degrees of falloff and turbulence applied.

After a bit of tweaking, it worked. And while the simplicity of my animation didn’t exactly match the complexity of the original, real-world example, the digital fabric flew into the digital air and floated around beautifully.

I chose a white-on-white color palette to give a clean, soft and delicate feel to the animation. The fabric texture is also slightly transparent, which adds to that tone.

Rendering was slow; each frame taking well over 45 seconds to render. This was mostly due to the dynamics processing. But I was able to “record” the point-level animation using the Cappuccino tool in Cinema 4D. That plus some serious tweaking of the GI settings brought the renders down to about 8 seconds per frame.

Interesting side note on the Cappuccino tool in C4D. It requires the user to click and hold the mouse while the “recording” process takes place. In my case that would mean sitting at my desk, holding down the mouse button for well over 9000 frames. That I was not cool with. So after trying a few other things, I realized that I could program one of the buttons on my Wacom tablet as a “click lock.” This meant I could simply start Cappuccino with a click of my Wacom pen and then walk away.

So, back to the animation. I got the idea of making this into a music video after sharing my initial C4D file with my daughter – who is a huge fan of Owl City. I’ve taken her to see several Owl City shows and I remembered this one certain song, “Lonely Lullaby.” I thought it would be perfect match for the animation I was making… plus I thought it would be cool to present this video as a gift for my daughter. To remind her how much I love her.

So here it is. An extremely unofficial Owl City music video. A father-of-a-fan-made project, created with love for my daughter.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2012 2:54 pm

    This is mesmerisingly beautiful. The graceful, balletic movements are gorgeous and I could watch it for hours. Well done, Mr Smith. Wonderful creativity.

    • Neil permalink
      September 24, 2012 4:53 pm

      Thank you Andrew! High praise coming from you indeed sir.

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