The 3D fractal worlds of Julius Horsthuis are typically epic affairs, with a maximalist aesthetic of mathematical shapes and colors. But in Horsthuis’s latest 3D fractal animation, a music video for electronic artist Fraction’s song “Isometric,” he explores a refreshingly minimal look and feel.
The selfsame fractal structures are still there, but their palette is a monochromatic black and white that looks almost like a bluish chrome, with the shapes moving at a languid, molten pace that mirrors the ambient electronic track. The shapes look like they’re simultaneously expanding and collapsing into themselves and look quite a bit more real than Horsthuis’s other 3D animations.
Fraction (a.k.a., Eric Reynaud) says “Isometric” is really about transformation and mutation. He sees music as “coherent matter” that can morph as time unfolds until it reaches a final stage with different timbres and distortion. More than any other track of his new EP, Planète Humaine (InFiné), Reynaud wanted visuals that could match the music, so he contacted Horsthuis. Their collaboration has an element of artistic synchronicity; like Reynaud, Horsthuis has performed inside an immersive dome.
“In the video, you travel in time and in distortion, and suddenly you find yourself surrounded by sibylline patterns,” Reynaud tells The Creators Project. “Suddenly, it becomes one entire coherent piece, as if the visual always existed for the music. I like the idea that after a while you forget exactly where you started.”
Early on in his fractal-rendering experience, using Mandelbulb 3D three years ago, Horsthuis wanted to go beyond “very computer-generated” visuals. He started experimenting with depth of field and turned his creations black and white. Suddenly, Horsthuis says, “they looked alive, cinematic and real.”
“I still occasionally use black and white, and when Eric approached me for his track, I felt that it was right for this,” he adds. “Electronic, but it feels really analog, in a way. I thought it was important to convey that feeling in the fractals.”
Horsthuis’s video was partly inspired by the immersive audiovisual piece Entropia, a spatial performance inside a dome, for which Reynaud composed live music. Horsthuis was hypnotized, and the theme stuck with him.
“I thought a giant pullout with moving and morphing arcs would be interesting,” Horsthuis says. “I played with the depth of field to the music, to add some mysterious force. The pullout reveals more and more, as the music builds and matures.”
Reynaud gave Horsthuis creative freedom, but he thinks the 3D artist captured the right audiovisual qualities. The two are thinking of turning the video into a fully-immersive dome experience with surround sound.