Awesome Experimental

Pixar: Automaton

Pixar: Automaton

This experimental short film from Pixar effects artists and director Krzysztof Rost is quite the departure from their story- and character-driven productions. Instead, we’re presented with a wordless world to bear witness to nature’s fury. We’d love to see a crisp 4K version, as YouTube’s compression algorithm destroys the detail.

Square Insights

Square Insights

Motion designer Simon Grabowski created this CG sequence of five very different environments, each of which has one thing in common – they’ve been constrained to a small square box. We loved watching these tiny animated worlds emerge and how they each convey a very different sense of place through scale and texture.

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Visit Convergence Station

Visit Convergence Station

Could you use a vacation? Perhaps a trip to Convergence Station is in order. But when we say “a trip” we mean, like on acid. Andreas Nilsson’s short starts out as a retro travel promo but quickly descends into madness as its true destination is revealed. All aboard!

Maneuvers

Maneuvers

Filmmaker, skier, and animator Sämi Ortlieb combined his passions to create this unconventional take on a ski action film. Through the use of stop-motion techniques, its skiers traverse obstacles that didn’t exist a split-second before they arrived at them.

Serial Parallels

Serial Parallels

Hong Kong is loaded with tall and colorful apartment buildings like the ones we saw in The Block Tower. Artist Max Hattler created this experimental animation by taking thousands of individual building photos and sequencing them to create vertical and horizontal movements.

p e r m u t a t i o n . c i t y

p e r m u t a t i o n . c i t y

This experimental short film used artificial intelligence technology to stitch together action footage by the STORROR parkour team. The custom-written software identified similarities in their maneuvers and body positions, then manipulated and overlayed the imagery from various locations they’ve visited around the world.

Contour

Contour

Filmmakers Ryo Kitabatake and Takuma Sasaki created this experimental short film about the everyday pressures that weigh on all of us. The tentacled mass that tugs at our protagonist is boldly symbolic of the complex and intertwined nature of modern life’s responsibilities. Music and sound design by Max Cooper.

Black Ice

Black Ice

Photographer Christopher Dormoy created this hypnotic and indescribable montage of macro imagery using a combination of ice, oil, paint, soap, and flowers. Blow it up to full screen, and you’ll feel like the temperature in your room dropped by 30 degrees by the time you’re done watching.

Cinema Toast

Cinema Toast

This eclectic comedy series is made from public domain films, recut by indie filmmakers to amuse and tell new stories. Each episode features dialogue dubbed by actors and comedians, including Nick Offerman, Nicole Byer, Aubrey Plaza, Fred Armisen, Alison Brie, and more. The full season is available now on Showtime.

2020: An Isolation Odyssey

2020: An Isolation Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey evokes quite the sense of isolation as HAL 9000 picks off the Discovery One’s crew, then Dave Bowman has a quiet, hallucinogenic trip. Filmmaker Lydia Cambron’s dark parody explores the parallels between Kubrick’s universe and the one we’ve been living in since the pandemic started in 2020.

Circulatory Systems

Circulatory Systems

Filmmaker Yiannis Biliris and Visual Suspect offer a trippy new perspective on the world. By digitally manipulating footage of automotive traffic into complex repeating patterns, they visualize “the arteries and veins” of an imagined mega-metropolis.

Journey to the Dark II

Journey to the Dark II

Artist Yang Yongliang created this impressive short film that combines the light seen in cities with the stars in the sky. The full piece was designed for the MGM Cotai Theater’s massive 12 x 70-meter wraparound screen, so for maximum enjoyment, you’ll want to watch this video in full screen in a darkened room.

Fork

Fork

(Flashing Lights) A woman takes a walk through a contemporary art gallery, and when she comes across an ordinary fork on display, she imagines the creative potential of the eating utensil and other ordinary objects. Optical Arts’ wild short film is packed with surreal and dynamic CG imagery. Behind the scenes here.

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Nature Always Wins

Nature Always Wins

During the lockdown, the digital artists of Universal Everything imagined what the world might be like if society as we know it ended, and nature took back over the planet. The first of the two infinite-loop vignettes replaces highways with grass and flowers, while the second envisions an airport overgrown with greenery.

Concatenation 2: Olympic Game

Concatenation 2: Olympic Game

Video artist Donato “Milkyeyes” Sansone combined footage of Olympic athletes performing a variety of movements, from gymnastics to diving to track and field events, seamlessly melding together their motions so they look like one extended routine. The technique is a refinement of his earlier clip, Concatenation.

Pressure: The Countless Faces of Chaos

Pressure: The Countless Faces of Chaos

Ernest Desumbila’s and Sauvage.TV’s short film packs in a whole lot of style, fantastic cinematography, and a cryptic but intriguing series of vignettes about a future civilization where people meet their doom as they face the inevitable in their monstrous and chaotic world.

Megalopolis: First Contact

Megalopolis: First Contact

Paris filmmaker Benjamin Bardou’s experimental short is just one of a series of dreamlike visuals which explore life in a fictitious city known as Megalopolis. In this episode, an unknown intelligence examines the passengers aboard a subway car. You can view more from the series on the artist’s website or Vimeo page.

Moving Parts

Moving Parts

Andrew B. Myers‘ experimental short film uses a combination of animation techniques to fill the frame with dozens of tiny objects constantly in motion. There’s so much going on that you’ll need to go back and watch it multiple times to catch all of the neat little details.

The Super Zoom

The Super Zoom

CG artist pedro3dbh’s short film sends us on an epic journey deep within the most mundane of objects, the tip of an ordinary ball-point pen. As the virtual camera zooms deeper and deeper into its structure, we eventually reach the subatomic level.

American Totem

American Totem

Video artist Theo Tagholm’s (aka “mustardcuffins”) experimental short film envisions an alternative version of the world, where the iconic rock structures of America’s Southwest stretch endlessly into the sky. It’s a strangely unsettling, but engrossing visual. We love how the clouds cast shadows onto the totems.

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Skiing

Skiing

Experimental filmmaker Dirk Koy took a simple concept and executed it brilliantly to create a moving work of art. The clip takes images of skiers coming down a slope, and persists them to show the paths they each took down the mountainside.

Splendor

Splendor

Artist Joe Takayama’s short film juxtaposes modern animation technology with traditional Japanese art styles. He developed an algorithmic method for rendering Kiriko (cut glass) and Kumiko (wooden lattice work) using a system typically used for simulating plant growth in CGI.

Portals

Portals

Digital artist Tomin’s short film features one of the slickest and most mind-bending transition effects we’ve seen. Each location starts out looking quite ordinary, but then as the camera approaches, it fragments into blocks, revealing a new scene.

△▽

△▽

Audio-visual artist Conner Griffith presents a triptastic experimental short film which bends time and space much in the way that a Christopher Nolan film might. We kept expecting the little twins from The Shining to turn up in that long hallway.

Stanley Scanley

Stanley Scanley

Filmmaker and composer Stuart Hilton’s son Stanley had his brain scanned for science, and his dad decided to take footage of the sliced up imaging layers, animated them, and set them to a trippy ambient soundtrack. It’s weird to think that we all have this stuff inside our heads.

H E L I O S

H E L I O S

Filmmaker Nicolas Arnold used in-camera visual effects to envision what the uncharted outer reaches of space might look like, using liquids and chemicals to approximate the gasses and other matter that make up the universe.

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