Biochemical Soul Musings on Nature, Science, Evolution, Biology, and Education


The Firefly and the Deer – “Moonbeam Death Ray”

Since, it seems that I've been on an art post kick for the last two days, I thought I'd toss one more out for you. This is on oldie for me, but I'm betting that few if any of my current readers have seen it.

Way back in 2006, a buddy of mine (Joshua Robertson) was in a band called "Bronze Fawn," a progressive, instrumental group based in Seattle.

One of their songs (9 minutes in length) was called "Moonbeam Death Ray". Listening to it in the car one day, I had a "vision" (i.e. a cool idea).

I had just recently picked up a copy of the 3D computer animation software, Maya 7. So I thought, "what better way to learn to animate than by practicing with my idea for Bronze Fawn. I'm sure they will appreciate the surprise video!"

That, in essence, is how the following music video was made.

Josh was more than a bit surprised.

The video was written, directed, and animated by me with Maya 7 Unlimited. It took 200 hours over 4 months plus 600 hours of computer render time (i.e. I would set up the render and let my computer crunch out the stills while I was at the lab finishing my PhD). I modeled and textured the deer and firefly based on deer in my yard and fireflies I caught. I initially mixed the song down to its current 3 minutes length.

The YouTube version of this video has currently been watched about 478,000 times.

I have many, MANY problems with the animation (like some horrible deer movements, texture problems, lighting, etc...), but overall I was pretty happy with it for a first animation.

If anyone wants to learn animation - I say just do it.  Download the free and opensource Blender software and start doing tutorials!

My interest in animation started when I needed a good animation for my dissertation defense on frog heart development. This was the result (intended to be illustrative, NOT 100% accurate - and yes, that is what early Xenopus larvae look like):

And one more just for fun (no sound).

"Feeding Time"

You can see more of my animations HERE.

Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Cool, very good for a first animation.
    I did 3D work for a number of years, but as part of corporate world and freelance in a medium sized market. Lot’s of TV-bumper sand product visualization work. A couple of cool projects for COMDEX and COMDEX Japan back in the day. Still keep my software up to date(ish), but since being back in school full time haven’t had much chance to break it out and really get the juices flowing.

  2. That was really good. I especially liked the mushroom at the beginning. But then again, I like all mushrooms. You’ve got a great talent, and Miriam’s banner looks amazing.

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