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Animator Conjures a Modern-Day Technological Hades

Peter Clark renders the underworld from the depths of the digital age in his new animated short, 'Decrypt.'

by Nathaniel Ainley
Aug 3 2015, 7:35pm

GIF by the author, via

Designer and animator Peter Clark, one-third of the team responsible for the collaboratively-animated CGI shortPrimordial, releases his vision of a modern day Hades in a new video entitled Decrypt. According to Clark’s video description, this experimental piece explores, “the possible afterlife of technology and the process of its freedom from the digital crypt.”

After experimenting with multiple concepts for a technological god of this afterlife, Clark landed on a metallic masked figure that pairs archetypal images of the grim reaper with futuristic components. Decrypt’s Hades is centered around a mask Clark picked up from Party City: a plastic mask modeled after the plague or ‘beak’ doctor costume worn throughout Europe in the 17th and 18th century. Whether intentional or not, the Victorian mask that frames Clark’s modern day Hades serves as a powerful symbol for an illness that killed hundreds of thousands in the 17th century. Using a mold from heated styrene, electrical tape, glow sticks and cardboard, Clark builds off the mask’s victorian frame to create a “technological reincarnation” of the Greek God.

Clark's Hades is revealed by a series of glitches stylized to resemble render buckets in 3D software. The figure’s black leather costume is lit up by projection graphics and video effects designed using Photoshop, After Effects, and Hex Fiend. Clark’s character materializes, rendering in real time, “generated by the digital flames of his underworld.”  

“I used a macro lens and a microscope to take various images of a circuit board," Clark explains. "The intro is intended to show the malfunction of a system, so glow sticks were used to create a glowing electrocution effect as the climax." The result is a far darker vision of the underworld than one of, say, Hercules, but perhaps in its powerful mechanics, it's the perfect Hell for our modern era. 

Check out some renderings from the film, and then watch Decrypt in full, below: 

Images courtesy the artist

Decrypt from PeterClark on Vimeo.

Click here for more from Peter Clark.

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