Alex Bannwarth

Designer, Illustrator & Animator
Wellington, New Zealand
Depicting the process of metamorphosis from tadpole to frog, this looping animation illustrates both spatial but also temporal infinity, featuring fluidly interlocking tiles that can evolve and repeat indefinitely across space and time.

Concepts of repetition, recursion, metamorphosis, infinity and the cycle of life are ever present in M.C Esher’s work, a lot of his tessellations, both euclidean and hyperbolic do a mesmerizing job of exploring these concepts as static artwork. Ever since discovering his work as a teenager, I’ve dreamt of animating such tessellations, of what could be done with the help of modern computers and automation.

Leveraging Blender's robust instancing system and industry leading 2D animation tools, this project combines digital frame by frame animation techniques with creative coding. The resulting real time drawing assist enables me to visualise the entire pattern as I draw and animate individual frames.
Frogs Undergo Metamorphosis
Alex Bannwarth - Commissioned by Psychoactive Studios - Music by Blear Moon (CC BY-NC 4.0)
I am not aware of any figurative tessellations that have been animated while conforming to such complex rotational hexagonal tiling.

Realizing such a project in a timely fashion required automation and a unique animation pipeline, Blender’s Grease Pencil 2D animation capabilities combined with it’s powerful instancing system provided a robust framework to work in. Using a python script to place tiles in the correct location and rotation to form a complete pattern, the live instancing then allowed me to draw one tile, and see the entire pattern update in real time.

Planning and producing such an animation was very tricky, as I had to balance the fluid and natural motion of the frogs while maintaining the seamlessness of the tiling. The stylized, graphic art style allowed for some playroom to twist and skew the tadpole into flowing and tileable shapes, but maintaining recognizable stages of metamorphosis required a massive amount of time and iterations.