Oh Man … (The expanse)

#112 – Oh Man … (The Expanse) – Dynamic

Oh Man ... (Day)

#112 – Oh Man … (The Expanse) – Static Day Version

Oh Man ... (Night)

#112 – Oh Man … (The Expanse) – Static Night Version

Oman! A land of raw elements, of rare goods, and heroes bygone.

Just get off the trodden paths, and you’ll fetch your recompense.

Under the tent, all things lay still, longing for a soon to come dawn.

Sleep abandons me, dreams disintegrate, giving way to a growing suspense.

Coz out there, under a fairy lawn of stars, there’s a lot going on!

Away from the camp, I crouch and wait, for the show to commence:

Sand dunes shifting and sliding, living stage for a nightly mirage,

Shooting stars livening the heavens, sparking hope at each appearance,

Then drifting to the horizon in a wonderful celestial barrage,

Skeleton bushes dispensing desert tears, the precious frankincense.

One needs no more than his eyes to capture this tribute to Van Gogh!

Before day breaks, we fold, and pack, and load our expensive cargo:

The fragrant spices, the silk garments, and the fabulous indigo.

Up the crest, we watch it all, fascinating, it dwarves in a sense.

Oh Man … it leaves you breathless and faithful: The expanse!

Quad Damage

Techniques: Processing P5JS, Unity 3D, Pixplant, Final Cut Pro, Pixelmator

I started to toy with the idea of a desert themed animation before Xmas, and before my trip to Middle East, Dubai and Oman to be more specific. I might have been teased too by the new default default wallpaper of Mac OS X Mojave, and I found the dynamic change of the picture with the time of the day quite inspiring.

So I played with processing, to generate sand dunes shapes and sand flows using Perlin noise, and with the beautiful rendering obtained, I created bumped textures with Pixplant and threw them into Unity to check how this would look like.

Processing code

Processing renderings

Pixplant import

Greedy is what is was! At least from a CPU and RAM perspective, and I couldn’t get to anything really satisfactory. Therefore I momentarily gave up, packed my thing and flew to my road trip in Oman. In 6 days, with my soul brother, we drove about 1,000km, along the sharp coasts of the Persian Gulf, across the mountain area of Al Jabal Akhdar and down to the vast desert south of Bidiyah …

The great dunes south of Bidiyah are just the beginning of a vast sand desert covering most of the Arabic Peninsula. Driving about 20km into them, and staying at The Desert Nights camp, that’s where I got my long expected impression of the desert.

Dusk and dawn were favourite moments obviously, the winter season not affecting significantly the course of our sun, in a country that close to the equator. Privileged instants when the mind pauses to let the spirit take a brief flight to Heavens. Two quotes came to mind.

Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.

Rabindranath Tagore

Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.

Emily Dickinson

Coming back to Sydney, my head filled with rich memories, I had no other choice but to finish what I left pending. Back to the Unity3D board.

I stole a few 3d models from Google 3D, an Arab man and a dromedary camel loaded with chests and bags. There you go for the caravan atmosphere!

The rest was about sequencing and fine tuning in Pixelmator and Final Cut Pro

As for the music, it comes from one of the pre-XMas Schirmchendrink mixes, the one titled “Elixir”, by Cosmolog. I picked this particular Arabian tune which sounded very appropriate: Dawn, by Jean Vayat

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