A man carries a heavy backpack through a war-ravaged city. A medic pushes a zombified corpse on a stretcher toward an ambulance, as an ominous building with a logo for “Harvest Corp” sits in the background. Then we’re on a bright, vibrantly colored alien world whose surface is a shallow liquid, where an astronaut pulls on a wire dragging a vehicle behind them.
That’s just the first 30 seconds of nearly 11 minutes of strange, beautiful, and imaginative worlds all created based on the same original animation. The video was assembled by Clinton Jones, aka pwnisher, who challenged animators to create their own 3D animated scene based on a bare-bones animation he created. The video rounds up his 100 favorite clips.
The premise behind the challenge is to take the initial animation by Jones and have as many artists as possible re-envision it. Jones’ animation is a side view of a person walking, leaning forward, taking large (slightly theatrical) steps. The ground extends into the background under a large orb (a planet? Giant hot air balloon? Up to you!). From that, artists are challenged to make something original. What is that large orb in the background? What is causing the character to struggle walking forward? Each animation has its own explanation.
The results are simply mesmerizing. Every couple of seconds, we are transported to another artist’s take on a reality based on the original animation. If you’re a fan or familiar with popular 3D rendered art found on Instagram from artists like Beeple or The French Monkey, you might not be surprised to see the amount of alien worlds or remixes of a cyperpunk-bladerunner-akira-like future. That said, they are all beautiful and painfully detailed. So much so that each really feels like a unique world hinting at a backstory that I would love to read or watch more of.
The real treats, though, are the animations that are truly unexpected. One riffs on the animation style most associated with Studio Ghibli. Another might actually be stop-motion (if it’s actually a 3D render made to look like stop-motion then it’s really cool). There’s a really incredibly animated fire-breathing dragon that I rewatched a few times and another surreal behind-the-scenes “green screen” take with a twist.
For those who are curious on what the rest of the unused 2,300 renders are like, you can watch all 2,400 rendered animations here. But just a warning, it’s two hours 44 minutes and 39 seconds long… Although it’s broken up into themes, fantasy, adventure, video games, and comics, so you can skip to a topic of interest or just sit back and watch them all.