Still from the opening scene of 'HOLO'.

Still from the opening scene of 'HOLO'.


HOLO is an animation that takes you through the human head and brain in holographic form. The inspiration for the project came from Ridley Scott's film 'Prometheus'. I wanted to try to re-create the complex holographic systems that are prominent throughout the film with my own added twist. This project was mainly created with the After Effects plug-in 'Plexus', and most of the animation was done in Cinema 4D. Over the next few paragraphs I will talk a little about how each individual shot was composed and created.


For the opening titles I wanted something quite understated and simple looking seeing as the rest of the project has such a complex feel to it, with thousands of vertices and edges intermingling . I think this helps create a 'wow factor' when the viewer first sees the main part of the animation. 

I chose a simple, bold looking font -- Richard Miller Book. I created two masks for the top portion of the text and the bottom portion, and then animated these masks to get the horizontal split across the type. I overlayed this on a section from the opening shot to get some activity through the text. Next up I wanted to add some Scan Lines to make it look a little more digital, so I added the Venetian Blinds transition and subtly animated it so there was a small amount of activity going on. I added a little colour creation, as well as Trapcode Shine to increase the readability, and it was done.


This shot needed to have some ambiguity about it before revealing what you were looking at. I achieved this with the use of depth of field to blur a large amount of the geometry out so you could only see small details.

The head was a .obj model I got from TurboSquid which I then imported into Cinema 4D and cut up into sections. I assigned the individual pieces to a selection tag then split them from the original model so they were no longer connected. Each piece was then animated so the vertices could interact with each other inside Plexus. I exported the animation with Riptide Pro from Spanki. I then did the same with a brain model (again, from TurboSquid) except I threw it inside a Polygon Reduction deformer and a displacement deformer using a noise channel. The last thing I used Cinema 4D for for this shot was to create a particle system that shot vertices towards the brain object in. I used 3-4 emitters each shooting vertices. I simulated some subtle wind and low gravity to give the vertices more of a natural feel and I was good to go.

After all of this was imported into After Effects I played with the settings for points, facets, triangulation and lines until I was happy and chose my colour scheme. I wanted the brain to be the 'heart' of the animation so I chose a deep red to make it stand out and have a sense of importance about it. I think this really came across with the added effect of all the particles flying toward it too. Other effects I added were Film Grain, Trapcode Shine, Glow, and a Haze and Chromatic Aberration effect with Magic Bullet Looks. Colour correction was added and the shot was done. 


This next shot needed to have a bit more liveliness to it, in contrast the previous shot had a fairly slow moving camera that was animated in a way to set the scene of the animation. Inside Cinema 4D I set up another camera with a slow moving track but added a vibrate tag to get some more erratic movement going on. I set a very low focus distance to keep things coming in and out of focus, which also helped to liven things up. I added a group of emitters shooting out a single vertex down onto the head from above and animated the camera through them and towards the brain for the finishing shot.

The last thing was to add a focus down onto the head when the camera was coming to the end of its route. I opened up the focal length to keep everything in focus and was quite happy with the outcome.


The closing shot was a combination of the last two shots.  I was interested in the use of depth of field to incorporate the two shots together, so using Plexus' built in depth of field and importing my camera move from C4D I was able to create quite a dynamic move. I overlayed a lens effect from the Optical Flares plug-in to really exaggerate the change of depth of field. The effect makes it look as if the cameras focus is so shallow that tiny particles of dust or dirt on the camera's lens have become visible.

When the focus changes again we see the holographic head and the particles once again moving towards the brain. After a few seconds when the particles have all entered the brain system and have stopped being emitted the brain begins to glow. This was achieved with exposure and Trapcode Shine.



So the general idea here was to create an aesthetically pleasing piece that would show off a range of skills in AE/Cinema 4D and look nice in a reel. I'd also always wanted to have a play around with Plexus as it can have a really awesome effect. I didn't really focus on any type of 'story' with this piece in contrary with the other shorts I have made, but seeing as it's my job to make things look good, I didn't want to focus for too long on creating a narrative and skimp out on putting more work into the visuals. It was definitely a nice change of pace, however with my next project I'll most likely devise some kind of story, as I do also enjoy that aspect of the work too.

I hope you learnt something about how I put this piece together and enjoyed the video!