TITLE

Phytoborgs

DATE

WINTER 2019

CLIENT

Research

TYPE

3D Animation, Art Direction, Procedural

Phytoborgs


3D Animation, Art Direction, Procedural

A “Phytoborg” is a vegetative lifeform that fuses machine and living plant-like elements. As with the machine-creatures in the Living Machine series, these vegetative machine-plant creatures embody visions of post-technology life or of exo-biological life. The “tree” in “Phytoborg 2” is largely organic in appearance, but includes cube-like shapes that suggest a machine or non-biological origin.

Phytoborgs are the children of Andrew Nelson from the University of Arizona. They are part of his broader "The Living Machines" series which includes graphite drawings of machine-like creatures in futuristic or post-human landscapes.

This project heavily inspired by the field of Xenobiology is a research on synthetic forms in a post-human environment.

This series mainly challenges species categorization and naturally permitted breeding among animals, plants and machines, providing a number of possibilities and probabilities, all encompassing natural (human) traits such as affection, hug, protection, isolation and different forms of intelligence.

Trying to mimic an otherworldly growth behaviour, the Phytoborg grows in Houdini in an opposite manner to a natural organism. I was always fascinated by plants, in that, they feed themselves mainly through the Photosynthesis process from another planet (aka the Sun). This almost apt connection to another celestial object, an amazing phenomenon of evolution or maybe a hint of the plant's rather alien nature alltogether, made me rethink Phytoborgs as organism that grow top-down rather than bottom-up. Each Phytoborg's DNA appears in a point in 3D space and contains the basic shape of its body. This body then connects with main and sub-branches as well as sympathetic roots to the Terra, mutating its environment. Space colonization algorithms as well as attribute growth and attribute transfers in Houdini terms, spread its body according on the provided landscape.

In this project, all the landscape was created as procedural heightfields in Houdini, the materials are also procedural and based on the heightfield flowfields and sedimentation layers.

All scenes were rendered in Houdini with Redshift on a personal workstation in the course of 2 weeks.