Bleeding Heart 360° and Bleeding Heart Scenes

Bleeding Heart 360° and Bleeding Heart Scenes

Bleeding Heart 360°, March 11th 2022, 360° video, 3840x2160, 3D digital modeling and animation. Bleeding Heart Scenes, febuary 25th 202…

· 16 minute read

To veiw Bleeding Heart 360° go to: Recommened to watch in 4k resolution with sound.


To veiw Bleeding Heart Scenes go to:


Note: this piece has muiltple final results: a 360° video (Bleeding Heart 360°), a video (Bleeding Heart Scenes) and an installation of both videos projected in a dark space interactable by a joystick controller (Bleeding Heart) at the Edinburgh College of Art Graduate Show 2022.

Process of the Project:

In this project we were given complete free reign to choose what we made and how so I chose to make a piece around the continuation of Mushrooms and Skulls. Themes I wanted to explore more from Mushrooms and Skulls was the negative affects the human race has had on the environment and what this could manifest as well as developing more skills into digital modeling and animation.

I knew I wanted to make this project as a 3D world that the veiwer could explore and interact with since giving the veiwer a feeling of control and interaction would make them engage more which in turn would make it easier to convey meaning. There were a few ideas on how to create a 3D interactable world such as making a video game or creating a VR headset experince but since the final installation of the piece would be just after lockdown restrictions were removed people may be too nervous to interact with a VR headset and a video game could too easily be broken by a veiwer and require too much committment to successfully interact with in a busy art exhibition. In the end I chose 360° videos becuase it allows a veiwer to look around the world to give a sense of control which would help a veiwer actively engage with the piece but it could still loop back around on a fixed time like a normal video which would mean it can't easily be broken by a veiwer additionally Youtube supports 360° videos which would mean for people who dont want to interact with the main installation for hygene reasons could still interact with the piece using their phone by following a link.

Blender was chosen to create the bulk of the project because of it being open source meant that for experimentations and tools I could easily find or even create any mods I needed as well as edit existing functions if needed. Adittionally work flow through blender it smooth and easy since changing stages can be done by just clicking a tab, allthough at the time of making this project Blenders' video editing abilities were somewhat lacking and a little messy for finalising more unusual video formates.


Basing the constructed world in a real world place would reflect how the reality I was constructing is reflection of real world scenario that could become real as well as allow the veiwer to have a starting point for developing interpretation. New York was chosen because not only was it at risk of being underwater in a few decades but also was already facing heavy floods. There were many other real world places that faced flooding allready too but New York would be easier for most people to recognise since it is seen a a lot of popular media such as films and the building themselves would help to build into the negitive mood of the piece since the skyscrappers will massively overshadowing the veiwer making them feel small. Additionally in the limited time available the architecture may be easier to create than some other types of buildings due to the designs having a lot of repeating floors.


The world must be recognisable to the veiwer so that they find it familiar which can then be used against them to create a feeling of the world being uncanny to subconciously make them feel more uncomfortable. Feelings of negativity are important for the piece since the themes of the project will largey be based around the impacts humans have had on the environment leading to the collapse of civilization.

Using a pre-made asset as a guide for layout and proportions of the city would help to ensure the world has enough accuracies to be familier to the veiwer. there were downloadable assets avaible but most were either: in an outdated format, too expensive or lacked important infomation like roof top shapes. Instead there were some Blender mods available in conjunction with using satalite infomation such as Blender GIS and Blender-osm; Blender-osm was chosen because it was better at understanding the shape of roof tops for New York compared to Blender GIS (allthough Blender GIS was better at accurate terrain height/detail).


Google maps became very useful in addition to the builing stencils from Blender-osm since using street veiw gave many images of what each building looked to create them more accurately. In the time I had available I could not look up building plans for each buildings to make them 100% accurate but since the aim of the project is to make the veiwer feel negitive emotions this was fine since any inaccuracies may just lead into creating an uncanny valley affect furthering feeling of being uncomfortable in the veiwer.


Creating the buildings was done in mind of how they would be destroyed, rather than make them from the start as broken they were made in three main meshes which would then be broken down individually and then be booleoned together into one mesh. This made assigning materials easier since Blender assigns any new mesh combined to an existing one its' own material as well as removing any unseen faces to lower the polygon count.


Using an randomised shape to remove parts of the building with a booleon function rather than by hand meant that more detail around the crumpled zone could be created faster and allow time for a few verions to see which ones where more impactful from the veiwers perspective.

Each mesh would be booleoned by the same randomised object but the cutting object would be made slightly smaller or larger so that each mesh could still be seen when layered together and share a similar outline of destruction to look a little more realistic.


Due to there being many buildings that would need textures I decided to make all my texture procedually. At first this would be a little more time intensive than using photos or pre-made assets but once this procedual texture was made it could very quikly be duplicated and adjusted to new buildings or even adjusted later into the project to change or intensify moods created. Procedual textures also have the advantage of being unique to each asset even when shared which can help to keep the veiwer in immersion since there wont be any truly identical areas.

There were afew styles I could choose but realism was chosen because I wanted the world to feel more real to the veiwer in order to try and build more into the idea that this constructed world could become a very real reality.


Booleon destructing the buildings did have some unrealistic qualities in certain areas and does risk breaking immersion when seen in too much detail by the veiwer.


Since the whole piece would be in an underwater fog these details would not been seen too closely, however, due to the way the fog box interacts with the denoising function of blender it makes these features more warped which makes the buildings look less like a completly real object and more like a fevered dream which may be useful in disturbing the veiwer further.


A fog box was created to make the effect of being underwater since there was no way for my computer to handle making an underwater simulation. Simply tinting the fog and giving it a couple density maps did create a realistic underwater affect of buildings appear blurrier the further away it is from the veiwer.


A lot of rocks where needed for area 1 where the veiwer first appears but there was'nt enough time for every rock to be made by hand but since so many were needed the veiwer may quikly notice duplicates if only a handful of unique rocks were made. To create a mass amount of unique rocks a sphere was was created and given three layers of displacement modifiers which used different variations of size of a voronoi map.

Advatnages of this method ment an infinate amount of rocks could be made extremly quickly which all conformed to a realistic erosion pattern as they scaled but some disadvantages were that making extremly large rocks often had mesh errors and occasionally some meduim rocks also failed which meant rocks still needed to be checked by hand.


Procedual textures for the rocks had two main parts: the rocky tetxure and the mossy texture. While the rocky part of the texture used object texture co-ordinates the mossy part used normal co-ordinates which meant that the moss only appeared on the upwards facing parts of the mesh which is what made the moss growth pattern look more realistic.


In order to make the veiwer feel more crowded in and make more sense of the fixed path that they would have when exploring the environment any possible alternate route was blocked off with building rubble which further added to the themes of decay and collapse as well as could easily be connected to being from the broken down buildings.


One of the alternative paths was fairly large are further away from the main set of buildings so a small pile of rubble similar to the ones between buildings would look too out of place which may break veiwer immersion. Instead a whole building was fractured into many pieces using the Cell Fracture mod and then using collision physics a few simulations of the rubble falling over were done while adjusting the values such as friction and bounce until a realistic result was reached.

To reduce the face count of the rubble piles randomised hemispheres were booleoned together in the shape of the rubble and then booleoned together to remove any unseen details inside of the meshes but still look full of building debris by filling any holes that would let the veiwer see to the otherside of the mesh. To further reduce face count on the rubble meshes they were then cut in half slightly behind the highest point on the mesh furthest away from the angles that the veiwer would see the mesh since the veiwer would never see the back of the rubble piles.


Smaller peices of rubble were added between area 1 and area 2 to act as a way to smooth the transition between zones to make the scenary change less jaring. Making the change more jaring for the veiwer may make the mood more impactful but to reflect the real world situations I wanted this transition to be smoothed to show the connection of natural environments to human environments. Additionally making the change too unconnected may risk breaking veiwer immersion since it may lead veiwers to noticing design decisions of the map rather than subconsiously veiwing the map as real.


Originally I had planned to create a couple streets of buildings from New York but there was not enough time due to unforeseen circumstances so instead the first street of buildings base meshes were duplicated and booleon cut in new ways from the first set so that were not completly identical. Duplicating the buildings risks breaking immersion but booleon cutting them in new ways helps to lower this risk as it makes the buildings look more intentional and gives the veiwer new details to look at. The buildings repeating may also contribute to the idea of this constructed world like a looping nightmare to further intensify negative emotions from the veiwer.


The bottles were made starting from a cube that was then modelled into the basic shape of single use water bottles and then using a sub-divide modifier were smoothed out into more detail.


Using the amature tool the fish embyros were posed to fit inside of the bottles which meant they could fit properly inside the different bottles without any clipping or un-needed empty spaces.


Very subtle detail changes were needed for the fish eyes since the human brain can easily tell if something is inaccurate for face details which would make the the fish look more like an object rather than a living creature.


IOR material values needed a lot of adjustments too since the wrong value could make the bottles look more like glass than plastic but it also needed to be slightly stylised so that the veiwer can have a chance to see more of the details inside of the bottle.


Making the environment more animated was important for a few reasons from making the world more visually interesting for the veiwer to look at to building up more infomation about the environment. Having the fish bottles move back and fourth would draw people to look due to movement ensuring that they were noticed but would also illustrate the idea of an underwater current which builds the environment more towards being alive and underwater.

Due to limited computing power for the whole world environment I could not do an accurate phyics simulations of all the bottles colliding together while swaying back and fourth for the length of time needed without obvious looping. Instead an empty axis was made to loop back and fourth in a set path with a noise modifier to ensure that while the loops did smoothly link together they were not identical, then the bottles were made to track the empty with dampening buffer to smooth down extreme angles of the bottles to create the movement of them swaying back and fourth in ocean currents.


The seagrass also used an empty axis to mimic underwater currents like the bottles but had various levels of strength depending of how far away they were from where the current would be strongest and weakest. Ontop of the first empty axis for the swaying motion each patch of seagrass had a second empty axis that acted as a control point for a wave modifier applied to each grass blade which gave each seagrass blade a gentle rippling movement.


Since the fishing net would end up being very close to the veiwer it needed to be detailed but due to the shape of the net it allready used a lot of faces and creating the twisting threads as a mesh would add too many more faces. Instead the twisting threads pattern was made through UV mapping diagonal lines with a bump node.


Many nets of different sizes were needed but just making just a few iterations and then resizing them as needed would'nt work since the proportions would off. Instead the section of the ropes looping over each other was made into a singular small mesh which when repeated using duplication modifiers and then applied would create any sized fishing net needed while still keeping the correct proportions.


Similar to the seagrass the fishing nets also used a wave modifier emanating from an empty axis.


Jellyfish were made by creating four objects grouped together: large tendrils, small tendrils, brain and body.


Making each small tendril real would have taken too many faces on the mesh for such a small detail (small in terms of scale not importance), instead the small tendrils on the jellyfish are created mostly thorugh the use of a procedual texture rather than the mesh itself which is just a flat ring. Using a wave texture controlled by a gradient texture the jellyfish is given a set of black and white stripes where a noise texture makes them look a little more realistic by making them a bit wiggly, all of this is then put through the alpha of the shader so that the the darkest values of the texture (the back stripes) are made transparent which gives the illusion of there being many singular tendrils.

In experimentations using a mix node to combine the stripes with the object texture coordinates made the stripes even and seemless all the way round the object, however, this was acheived by setting mix value to 0 which should mean the mix node would have not have an affect since this is what normally happens when two values are mixed by a value of 0. I don't know why this node still has an affect at 0 but it is still useful.


using a combination of wave and displacement modifiers the jelly fish were given animations of how they move in real life by contracting and retracting their body to make them look more realistic and alive to the veiwer. It may have been faster to animate this by hand rather than using layered together displacement and wave modifiers but because both a lot of jellyfish were going to be seen by the veiwer and for an extended length of time it would be very easy for the veiwer to notice the animation looping and used across muiltiple jellyfish which would break immersion.

By creating the animation through modifers it meant that it would never loop and by changing some values in the modidiers such as offset none of the jellyfish would move in sync which would mean they would all have unique animations.


The jellyfish were made to follow and face a set track in order to make them swim through the water.


Some dead jellyfish were placed near the very end of the veiwers set path which were created by using a combination of collision and softbody physics simulations to ensure they formed properly to the grounds' surface and and had realistic small details like the compressions appearing on the main body but not the tendrils.


Spreading out the rubbish along the seabed was done through using particle system and a heat map to control the strength and location of distribution. This pattern was however was later slightly adjusted to make the rubbish form in clusters to look a little more realistic of how debris gets caught in small collections by using a parenting function withing the particle system.

Using a particle system meant none of the seabed rubbish were real instances which allowed for far more objects to be in the scene due to limited computing power, however this also made it harder to control clipping issues and the heat map had to be carefully edited to avoid being near possible clipping areas such as up against buildings which did leave some areas emptier than they should realistically be.


There were a few differnt versions of the oil rig heart but the main two versions tested the intent from making one version which at the start conformed around the shape of the heart and the second version was later conformed by removing and destroying areas. The second version was chosen as the final because the first version looked too out of place when compared to the rest of the objects in the environment such as the building.


A fluid simulation was used to created the oil eminating from the Heart Oil Rig which was adjusted to look like thick clouds of smoke because oil in underwater pressure being released at a high rate looks very simular to large thick smoke clouds. Some additional adjustments were made such as lowering the speed and spread in which the particles could move to make it look more realtic to under water oil pressure spills.

The quantity of particles emitted from the source is controlled by a looped curve modifier which mimics the same pattern found in a human heart beat which was to give more hints towards the veiwer that the oil rig is heart since its' form would be hard to understand with all the twisted metal covering it.


Oil droplets were used to fill various areas of the environment such as small collections around the rubble piles and a large area of open space towards the end of the scene. These were created using particle properties by making a simple cube mesh into an emitter which then had the particles emitted able to interact which each other such as merging together.


Filling the space at the end with oil droplets made the big open sapce feel more cramped and uncomfortable while still allowing the veiwer to feel small in a big open space that they can easily look around.


At one point the veiwer was going to be exploring the environment inside of a capsule to make sense of how they could be underwater, however this idea was scraped because making the glass of the capsule noticable to the veiwer by adding details such as scuffs and a realistic IOR made it too diffacult to properly see the environment. Other changes and details of the scene such as the repeating buildings and the the warping caused by the denoising meant the overall mood of the piece was allready leaning towards feeling like a kind of nightmare where not everything makes complete sense so removing the capsule alltogether would not affect the mood created by the project much at all.


Sounds for the environment were created through Audacity which like blender is open source which made acess to mods easier and faster.

All sounds were created from scratch where I experimented with various objects and how to use the to make the base pattern for a sound affect. The heart beat was created using fabric such as a shirt and a pair of tights which were quickly pulled to create pings of sound for the sounds of the muscles constricting in the heart. A pair of elastic shorts were used to create the sound of blood flow by gently pulling them and allwoing them shake around slightly. These methods were reapeating with slight variations of materials to make a larger collection of sounds to be layered together for bigger depth of sound for each sound affect.

Once each sound was recorded and uploaded into the program the first step was to cut the each sound file into sections of sound which were then sorted by hand for good or bad quality. Any chunk that did not match the pattern of the base sound needed or were too quiet were deleted entirely. Next the remaining chunks arrangedinto a uniformed pattern and stitched back together where then a noise reduction operation was used to clean any background noise.


Pitch and speed of the sound files were adjusted to sound more accurate to a human heart beat where then after an EQ filter curve was used to adjust the strength of the tones to reflect more realistically how the whole environement is underwater by removing most of the higher tones and strengthening some of the lower tones since this is often what is different to a sound heard in water compared to in air.


Ambient sounds for the environment used base sounds created from water or objects that interacted with water so that the base pattern of the sound would be more accurate and faster to edit into the needed sound affects.

Three bottles of water were individually shaken into a mic in various ways and then layered back together after noise reduction and using an EQ curve to lower the tones along with using a pitch change to lower the speed to create the strong unerwater current sounds found around the fish bottles.

To create the sound of the city collapsing underwater a toilet flush was recorded and then had its' tones and speed hugely lowered with an EQ curve and pitch change.


Most of these sounds were recorded muiltple times and cleaned/edited individually so that they could be layered back together to create more sound depth but all sound clips used an EQ curve and pitch/speed change to make them all more accurate to being underwater.


The video was first rendered seperatly from the sound where then all the frames were rendered again with the audio.

All of these sounds were imported into Blenders' video editing and used fades to be smoothly inserted in where once all sounds were checked over the final videos were rendered.