Plant Room is a 360 degree experiential animation that takes viewers through four different computer generated areas. A collaboration between Julian Glander and Jeron Braxton, the film starts with an organic nature scape and eventually ends up inside the mainframe of a computer. “Jeron and I both address technology and nature in our work and the contrasts therein,” says New York-based animator and director Julian of the pair’s inspiration. “The original idea was about moving through screens and going deeper and deeper into a kind of digital womb.”
Julian and Jeron met at a film festival earlier this year and immediately wanted to collaborate. “Julian soon sent me this file titled ‘Plantroom.blend’ and we started to build from there,” says Indiana-based director Jeron. “We started sending that Plantroom file back and forth each adding something new. There wasn’t a ton of verbal communication because if one of us had an idea we would just create it and show it to one another and go from there.”
The result is a trippy yet soothing adventure through a psychedelic world full of pink, purple and blue. The detail within each area is incredible, with every world being completely different to the last and unexpected characters pop up everywhere, adding to the surreal atmosphere of the film.
The challenges in the project were mainly around adapting to each other’s way of working. “Working with Julian I had to change up my creative flow a little bit because there are many ways to skin a cat fish; he has his way of creating and I have mine,” says Jeron. “Ultimately I learned a lot from Julian because I had to step outside my comfort zone and open my mind to different ways of creating.”
The equipment each of them was using also lengthened the process. “We both work off of laptops in kind of a low-tech way, and a 360 video needs a lot of time and power to render. So there was quite a bit of like, waking up at five in the morning to check on files,” explains Julian.
Jeron adds: It was a bummer because sometimes the file would get corrupted mid-render and we would have to re-render it, but then we’d notice something we could enhance or we’d get a new idea and then we would have to re-render it again so that was a bit stressful.”
Overall the pair see the piece being about overstimulation, and the 360 camera element, where there’s “visuals coming at you from all sides” felt like a natural fit for the project. “I’ve become really interested in the inherent FOMO built into 360 video: no matter where you look, you’re always missing something. You have to make conscious choices and sacrifices. Or just watch the video over and over,” explains Julian.
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