Here is the Opening Title we made for Toca Me Festival 2019.
Behind the scene
First of all I want to say again a big thank you to each and everyone who helped on this project.
It would have not be possible to make it happen without them !

On this project I have put together a small team of talented friends who were all motivated to take up the challenge.
I have to say that I was blown away by their motivation, involvement and efforts.
Indeed, although the project had been assigned to me several months earlier, each one's calendars enabled us to get down to work only one month before the deadline.
One month to organize everything!

I already had an vague concept about the subject: I wanted to play with the idea of morphogenesis and the reaction diffusion systems.
In fact, I had been exploring the strange world of morphogenesis for several months now.
I learned a lot about it and it was really fascinating.
But first of all, what is morphogenesis?

[mawr-fuh-jen-uh-sis] - noun
     The set of laws that determine the shape and structure of tissues, organs and organisms.
    the formation of landforms or other structures.

We can split the word like this:
Morph > Shape
Genesis > Creation
Or to put it more simply: "The emergence of the form."

This may not be very clear to everyone, so here are some examples where morphogenesis can be observed in nature:
As you can see, it applies to many things in nature.
The patterns on animal fur, coral shapes, your fingerprints, and so on...
All these shapes are the result of a series of chemical and physical reactions at a given time in the evolution of the subject. That's what's fascinating. It seems to follow some kind of universal law hidden in nature.
So I wanted to learn more about it and started doing some research on the subject, but on a more scientific level.

Reaction Diffusion
I tried to understand the principle of reaction diffusion systems and here is a little example of what I've found...
Alan Turing was the first to work on this subject.
These patterns are also called "Turing Patterns".
My scientific, chemical and physical skills being those of a graphic designer, I quickly focused on understanding the basic principle, which is more than enough to try to reproduce the visual aspect with my softwares.

If you follow me on instagram, you've probably seen some of my research on the subject. I used TouchDesigner to simulate the reaction diffusion system and create animated patterns. Here are some of the results obtained along the way.

Below is a preview of what it looks like in the software.
As you can imagine, and since it is generative art, each result is different.
And it is very difficult to control randomness!
Since I wanted to get the word "TOCA ME", I had to do hundreds of different tests.
When the shape was ok, the words were not readable enough. And when they were readable, the pace was too slow... and so on...
And sometimes, everything was perfect but I was not recording the sequence (since it was generated in real time)...

Anyway, here's a small extract of some of the results obtained as I was playing with different parameters.

The story
Since I was able to get different results and different patterns, I wanted to create something with it. Having done a lot of research, I wanted to tell the story of someone who was following a similar process. So we could say this project is some kind of a selfportrait.

So I came up with the story of a man who was investigating morphogenesis. He was trying to translate his observation of nature and re-encode it into his computer with formulas.
On the way, he finds himself experimenting with liquids and is able to create a strange liquid that interacts with him.
The name of the festival being "TOCA ME" (which means "touch me" in Spanish), we had an idea that we wanted to add as a little bonus after the credits of the video.
Since the liquid forms the word "touch me", my colleague Orlando had the idea to make the liquid respond to the character's presence.
For this visual effect we used a mixture of magnetic paint, white glue and black paint. Then we just placed a magnet above it and the liquid slowly started to move!
It's alive!
Since I had been testing for several months, I had already obtained realistic looking results that could be observed in nature. So I had enough material to create all the animations representing each simulation the character was working on.
I chose to have an old school look for the user interface on the computer screen, so I had to post process all the animation with a dithering effect.

Since the deadline was quite tight, Orlando focused on making only the main storyboarding details.
The aim was to agree on the camera angles, shots and general atmosphere we were going to create.

Here is a short clip of the storyboard made by Orlando.

Set design
One of the most important things was the set design.
Yes, we could have shot the opening titles in a place that already had the atmosphere we were looking for, but we preferred to have the ability to control every aspect of the shooting.
So we built the set in Orlando's photo studio.
Once again the team did a fantastic job, very professional, beautiful, solid and very convincing. 

Here is a little making of where you can see the construction of the set and some funny moments of the shooting.

Music and sound design
For the music, I contacted Michel Duprez from "Rabada!" and he was crazy enough to take up the challenge. After a few tries, I fell in love with the music he composed. Michel quickly understood what I wanted and our collaboration was very productive.
His advices and remarks were very appreciated and his expertise was truly valuable in terms of storytelling as well as the emotions emanating from the film.
For the sound effects, we did some recording sessions right in his studio and I was able to be the foley artist. It was a fun and fulfilling experience.

Here is a little timelapse of our recording sessions.
As you can see we used everyday objects for the sound effects.
Will you be able to spot each one of them?

Thank you
I hope you enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at the Opening Titles.
And once again I want to thank everyone who worked on this project!

And a big shout out to all the TOCA ME team.
You made us feel very welcome, and it was a very exciting experience for us!
Giving a speach in front of 800 people is not something you can easily forget.
Thank you again for giving us the opportunity to present our work and share our passion with the Munich public.

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