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FIELD's Energy Flow: The Sheer Physical Force Of "Gravity"

An in-depth look at the latest chapter of FIELD’s Energy Flow, exploring this fundamental force.

by Kevin Holmes
12 December 2012, 7:30pm

For the next chapter in their generative film experience, Energy Flow, FIELD explore the force of “Gravity” through a series of animations that show its influence over physical objects. The animations show the collision of two objects and the powerful after effects of such an event.

As the two bodies smash into one another they fragment into various shards and pieces, expressing the intense energy that’s unleashed and the enormous potency of the gravitational pull that attracts material objects to one another. Exploring the magnitude of this influential force, FIELD demonstrate how gravity’s actions can sometimes be momentary, but its effects long-lasting.

The impact and legacy of the collision.

As a force that occurs throughout the universe, gravity is something that exerts its pull on many different objects from large to small, and the fundamental way in which it attracts physical bodies is something that FIELD wanted to investigate. As well as showing the ferocity and power of a collision, they also wanted to bring a more organic aesthetic to bear on the texture of the objects—so they took inspiration from surfaces like marble and crystal, to add an ethereality to balance the physicality of the piece.

Inspiration for the textures of the objects.

From a technical standpoint, the challenge was to create a realistic impact, making sure the physics were correct, and this meant many hours and experimentation in 3D environments. It’s this combination of realistic physics with the intricacy of the collision and surface detail that make the animations so captivating and powerful. FIELD elaborate on this process in their answers below.

The Creators Project: Gravity on earth is actually a very weak force, but also has a very powerful affect in the universe on astral bodies. Is this duality, or relativity, something you thought about when creating the animations?
We love this idea of patterns that repeat on very different scales, on a micro, macro, universal level. In our animations the two bodies actually seem to gravitate towards each other, like a very subtle but unavoidable force—not unlike a planet drawn along its orbit.

The process and development of the collision took many hours work.

How does the story of gravity fit in with the other themes you explore in the film, like “Infinity,” “Chance,” and “Riots”?
Each story in Energy Flow takes a look at a different type of energy transformation; on a physical, technical, biological or spiritual level. “Gravity” is very much about the sheer physical forces, the materiality of the objects when they collide and shatter. But at the same time, the two marble objects also resemble human bodies, female and male forms—so the story can be read just as much about the clash of two personalities. They gravitate towards each other even though the collision bruises both of them; like an encounter that leaves marks, if you like.

How complex was the design process in creating a realistic impact of two celestial bodies?
Recreating enough detail for a believable collision was one of the biggest technical challenges; working out the right weight and behaviour to make the matter look more natural. We spent days just tweaking the settings and running the physics simulations over and over again, which can take hours for just a few frames.

Visit for more information on the project and more behind-the-scenes imagery. Check back on The Creators Project every week for an in-depth look at a different storyline or feature of the film.

Meet FIELD in the video below…


Energy Flow