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Tidal Patterns and Rock Pool Creatures Inform This Swell Animation

The seaside inspires design studio Atyp's rhythmic animation "Tide."

The tidal activities off the south coast of England are the foundation for experimental animation Tide, from Atyp. After a trip to a local beach in winter when the tide was low, the Brighton-based studio started to think about the cycle of transformation which happens there.

"We were interested in the interplay between the two cycles of the sea’s tidal patterns (driven by the moon) and day and night." explains Atyp's creative director and founder, Merlin Nation. "And how this never ending ebb and flow affects the inhabitants of the tidal rock pools as their environment inevitably changes. Over a one day 24 hour period you will have two low tides and two high tides and we like the rhythm this creates."


Research photos. Courtesy Atyp

Thus Atyp set about making a short looping animation, one that they wanted to also "question the notion that our attention spans are getting ever shorter." The result is a meditative piece where generative creatures bob about in a digital surf in a soothing, satisfying manner.

"We started looking at ways of illustrating the interplay between the tidal patterns and time. These were very simple animations but we liked the relationship between the elements of light and dark and high and low tide," notes Nation on the processes behind the piece. "Tidal-time data drives the tide’s level, this in turn determines the rate of change of the colour and texture of the scene. The organic looking animation in the scene is driven by a hydrophonic field-recording of an actual rock pool, featuring the noises of whelks, limpets and other inhabitants."

Atyp see this as the beginning for this concept, with the possibility of it becoming a touring installation using tidal data from from different locations to inform the action. Above, watch Tide in full, and check out some of the resulting images below:

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