Open Movie: Our Earths - an immersive science vision of the future

Hello Blender Artists!

This is my first post here, I have been a long time reader/lurker already though…

About me

I have been spending a significant amount of my time/life working on a community built open hardware and free software high end cinema camera that is completely modular and upgradeable. I will continue to spend time on the camera in the future as well. You might have stumbled upon the AXIOM project before - if not: https://www.apertus.org/axiom-beta
So I am an open source and open hardware enthusiast from the bottom of my heart.

But in retrospect I actually never wanted to build a camera, I wanted to make films with accessible tools that brought joy to the process, but let’s just say that one thing led to the other :slight_smile:

So I worked on various film projects (many documentaries for national broadcasters, some cinema projects, corporate/promo films) for various companies in the last decades creating animations, working in production (camera) and post production.

Last year a we (small team) started preparing something new: a community collaborative open movie project that creates a science based utopia world about the future of humanity and “escapes” the rectangular projection screen immersing the viewer in a 360° 3D virtual reality.

We were able to secure a grant from the Austrian ministry for Arts & Culture.

About Our Earths

It feels like we have collectively given up regarding doing something against the climate crisis and all the implications it has on biodiversity, our ecosystems and all our lives. The science has been clear for decades but politicians have just recently started prominently announcing ambitious goals to limit global temperature rises at climate conferences. But the reality is that CO2 emissions are rising further faster and the increase will continue to grow. Constant news of the crisis picking up speed like polar ice caps melting faster than ever anticipated or temperatures hitting levels never recorded for this time of the year before have numbed us to a level that we just accept this as new reality.

With Our Earths we will show that a bright future is still possible. We are creating a future world showing how humanity has solved all the problems we are facing today. What will such a world look like? How will we live, how will we travel, what will we eat and what jobs will be left when AI and robots have taken over most of the things we occupy ourselves with today? When will we raise our view towards the stars and space exploration entirely?

Of course we will also show what the peak of the climate crisis will look like and how it will turn vast areas of our planet into uninhabitable wastelands forcing billions of people to leave their homes, constant extreme weather events, collapse of entire ecosystems and resulting global food shortages, wars, etc. included.

These future worlds are being created by an international community of scientists and experts in their fields creating simulations and evidence based forecasts. We want to build the project on broad international scientific and interdisciplinary consensus. No “science fiction”, a “science vision”.

The VR experience though is not meant to just be an unemotional display of the future - we want to immerse the viewers in all aspects of this world - give them a chance to touch and feel it. We want to shock the audience, we want to give hope and create compassion - make the audience feel and fear with the people of these future worlds. A full cinematic audiovisual immersive experience!

The works by melodysheep have been a great source of inspiration for us (sorry forum wont let me post more links - just look for melodysheep on youtube).

The project is executed as an open movie using blender for all 3D animations and we will release all assets we create in the course of the project freely - of course also the finished VR experience will be made freely available on as many VR platforms and systems (file download as well).

We got a wonderful director of photography (DOP) on board: Roberto Schaefer, who DOPed among many projects: James Bond: Quantum of Solace, Geostorm, The Host, Stranger than Fiction, The Kite Runner and also worked on Westworld, etc.

Currently our creative team is relatively small and we want to grow it but currently we are still in the middle of above mentioned scientific research. I wanted to reach out here early though and ask for your feedback and ideas.

Project Website:

https://www.our-earths.com

I will check this thread regularly for replies and will also regularly post project news and developments here through the course of the project.

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First progress update from scene 1 of the VR experience:
The Nao Victoria is a ship in the fleet of Ferdinand Magellan and here is a work in progress:







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testing sailing ship cloth and rope physics for our opening scene:

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Wow you can really feel the tension in those ropes !

By the way, I love this pitch. We need that kind of projects during these times. Of course we also need to eat the rich, but film production has to reflect reality and inspire hope, otherwise it’s just another illusion into which we can get comfortably lost while the world burns. All the best to you and your crew, will follow this attentively.

Hadrien

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Very true. I hope this project will not end up telling some fairtale of how an ecologically beneficial version of the current capitalist world-order, maybe coupled with advanced technology will save us.
It will not.
Solving the pressing problems of this day and age will not be possible without politics, not in some kind of ‘each single individual does a little bit of this or that’-manner.
And it will not be possible without making rich people suffer (not in the physical harm sense, mind you).

In other words, I hope this will not be some kind of inspiring, beautiful visuals, showing beautiful nature etc., which you could take and replace the audio by some clichée harmonic relaxed music and add a corporate narrator to it (and a big corporate logo at the end), until, with this few changes, the outcome could not be told apart from sth. like this:

greetings, Kologe

Hi Kologe

It sounds like you are passionate about the project and want to participate in its creation!
Please drop by our discord channel where all the creative team hangs out: https://discord.gg/g3P9jC3RBY

The project team has been steadily growing and we are close to 20 people now.

Here are two more blender renderings showing the work in progress sails/ship of scene 1:


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Really nice folds and translucency on those sails ! the wood textures show pleasant variations but the shader could use some more reflectivity I guess. There’s this pretty front-facing sunrise and it seems like the ship’s stern is very matte. I’m not sure what kind of process planks meant for ships went through -caulking? or some kind of varnish (probably not the right term here)? Would that end up being reflective at all? I’m not even sure.

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Ship planks were usually tarred, which looks something like this:


Which definitely has an element of shininess to it :slight_smile:

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Many thanks for the feedback, I will make sure the team sees this!

Quick update from the project front as we have now entered the production phase and are building blender environments/scenes/objects already.

Here is the current work in progress Intro with only few missing elements (logo Text, airplane, etc.). Its 360° 3D VR so the view here is of course just a small “window” perspective but I think its enough for a first impression. Note the custom composed music and voice actor.

A few stills from that work-in-progress Intro:

and future scenes:

Our main character as concept art:

and the almost finished 3D model on sketchfab:

We’re currently looking for 3D Artists, VFX-Artists, SFX-Artists and a production manager. Do you have skills not listed here? We’ll surely find a way to make your talent count. Its a community project with volunteers - we really enjoy the collaboration and learning from each other.

Join us at https://www.our-earths.com or come visit us on Discord: https://discord.gg/g3P9jC3RBY

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Excellent progress ! At first sight, the camera movement felt very linear. In effect it’s just trucking back all the way to the moon, but I thought it could benefit from a few stronger moments -such as when the ship passes by there could be a little shake, or the moon could come into view a little more suddenly, with the camera path grazing the ground a little closer. Maybe that would help ground the viewer a little better into the scenery.

Not sure how relevant this remark is anyway, since it’ll be VR… is a camera shake even possible without risking motion sickness? I understand you may want the motion to be as stable as possible?

What about these continents, are they meant to be mostly brown or is it just WIP? I’m not sure I get the “sliced Earth” thing either -is it supposed to represent the variety of exoplanets humankind might explore? these “rings” in between the planet slices look uncanny. Have you thought of another way of conveying that idea? instead of showing a single sliced planet, you could show just one at a time, maybe.

Cheers,

Hadrien

By the way the music does its job very well, it feels inspiring, doesn’t steal the show either.