After my Peculiar Particles project, I knew that I wanted to work with cubes for my abstract animation. I am a big fan of order, and nothing is more orderly and patterned than a cube. I thought this would be a fun limitation for myself, because by only working with cube, which are relatively boring objects, meant that incorporating the "audio-reactive" element of my project was going to be a creative challenge. When I first created the new file for this project, the default scene loaded up, and instead of instantly deleting the Cube that comes as default in the project, I thought to myself, "How can I make that interesting?"
At this point, I had already decided upon the music that I wanted to include in my project. Unlike Pluto is one of my favorite artists, and his music is royalty-free, so I chose his music because it had a personal connection that no other free audio on YouTube did. I found a song, linked below, that consistently changed beats every 15 seconds, making it perfect to sync up with my different abstract visual animations. When I loaded that audio into Blender, along with just the starting Cube, inspiration struck. Listening to the music play as I was staring at this cube, I could visualize how the cube would rotate, and how it would change in size with the intensity of the music. This became my new focus, and after spending days animating the cube's movements to match up with the audio, I had created a "Dancing Cube", the star of my animation.
The pictures above demonstrate my first steps towards creating a background for my Dancing Cube. Initially, I followed a Ducky3D tutorial, linked below, that showed how to create a plexus-style visualization. I followed along for the first half of the tutorial, but stopped following along once I had found a point of deviation. In the tutorial, Ducky uses a "Particle System" and a "Wireframe Modifier" to create the plexus-style effect, and the particle he uses is a simple UV sphere. Because I knew that I wanted my animation to focus entirely on cubes, I instead chose to make my particles cubes, and when they were scaled up, it resulted in this interesting, almost-living grid of cubes. By parenting the plane of cubes to an "Empty Plain Axis" and animating that plain axis, I was able to animate a subtle but interesting movement for the cubes across the grid.
I also found that scaling up the cubes dramatically resulted in this interesting collection of interwoven cubes, that resembled its own abstract animation. I was able to achieve this affect by using the "Bake sound to F-curve" command to edit the keyframes for the scale of the cubes. This allowed me to easily create the second of four animated sequences, thus I was able to kill two birds with one stone because I did not need to create an entirely new background for this animation.
For my third abstract animation, I chose to mess around with the "Array Modifier", which is a tool that I haven't really experimented much with in Blender. Using two array modifiers, I was able to create this spiral tunnel of cubes, which on it's own wasn't very interesting. To spice things up, I was inspired by the motion of the Dancing Cube that I had animated for this scene. The cube spins fast, winding up and increasing in size before unraveling, decreasing rapidly in size. The effect makes the Dancing Cube look as if it is almost falling down the spiral tunnel, so I animated a light source to reflect that motion. When the cube decreases in size, the light launches down the tunnel, illuminating the end before making its way back up. The resultant effect is quite memorizing, and is only accentuated by the Orange and Blue color scheme I chose for my animation as a whole.
That color scene can be scene consistently throughout the animation, but it was originally decided upon when I was creating the fourth and final visualization. I knew that for the end of the animation, I wanted it to be more tame and mellow compared to the rest. I also knew that I really wanted to emphasize the focal point, the Dancing Cube, so it is the last big impression the viewer is left with when seeing the animation. I found another Ducky3D tutorial, linked below, that achieved my goals. The effect is reminiscent of the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and it is quite fitting for the end of my animation as well. Although I followed along with the tutorial for this section, I deviated in my color scheme and I changed many of the settings with the "Brick Texture" node that I used to shade the materials in this scene.
With my four animations created, and having assigned them all a consistent Orange-Blue color scheme, the final task I left for myself was to choose the material for the Dancing Cube itself. I had originally planned on creating a more detailed "hypercube" style effect, but as I was starting to create that effect using the "Wireframe Modifier", I found that the scene became too cluttered and the focus on the cube was actually worsened. Because of this, I opted to color the Dancing Cube in a simple, yet interesting way, very similarly to that of my Peculiar Particles project. I am quite happy with the finished result, and I think the Dancing Cube I have created is entertaining and fits well to my music selection. I am pleased with the cohesiveness of my final composition, from color, to sound, to all the cubes, everything feels like it truly belongs together in my animation.