3DVideo

Intricate 3D animation explores inner space

Visual artist Markos Kay’s stunning CGI animation takes a voyage through the bloodstream. We chat to him and find out how it was made.

The Powers of Ten is a pioneering animated epic from 1968 that explores the idea of magnitude, moving from the outer reaches of space to inside the human body. For The Powers Project, the Eames Foundation invited 40 contemporary artists to produce new shorts on the same theme.

MRK - aka Markos Kay, a visual artist from London - chose to animate a lymphocyte within the bloodstream, in an intricate CG film created with Cinema 4D and After Effects.

Markos Kay’s lymphocyte animation begins on the outside of a capillary in the human body, zooming right in to a single white blood cell

"Everything you see is procedurally generated, including the animation, textures and 3D models," explains Kay. "I always make it a point in my work to use procedural techniques, to relinquish as much power as possible to the computer."

Ironically, despite handing over a certain amount of control, the process took two months. "That's a lot of pre-production for a 20-second animation," admits Kay, "and a luxury that most designers can’t afford." 

The intricate 3D animation was created as part of the Powers Project, celebrating 1968 film Powers of Ten

He feels the time was well-spent, as he wanted to do justice to the original film. "It's been a great influence in my work both aesthetically and thematically… I wanted to evoke a kind of vintage feel to it, reminiscent of '70s graphics and science fiction, but with a modern twist," he adds. "Putting all that in 20 seconds was also very challenging."

This article was originally published in Computer Arts issue 210.

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