A Mesmeric a year in the making, well, nearly. Originally thought of and started back in August 2021 before life, work and other things took over my time. And due to it’s complexity it was always a daunting task to get momentum to finish it. The idea for this piece was to come up with a way to transition between multiple real world objects (a concept which I hope to extend to future Mesmerics) whilst retaining the volume and geometric surface area as much as possible. As I had successfully figured out how to smoothly turn a tube inside out I found myself drawn to similar real objects like rubber rings and tyres. This got me thinking, if I could retain the geometry for the binding edge between tyre and wheel I could ‘easily’ move between different designs/styles.
There were 2 stages to this Mesmeric when building it out in 3D – first I needed to create a tyre mesh that I could fold in on itself and transform into different styles. As all tyres are revolutions of a profile shape this was relatively simple, by outlining my tyre profiles for each of the four designs with the same number of points I would easily be able to blend between the shapes smoothly as the topology is all the same. The unfolding motion was a little tricky to wrap my head around, but I approached this by concentrating just on the edges of the tyre (effectively 2 parallel rings) which I would pass through each other, every transition. This would mean that the outside of the starting tyre would become the inside of the following one and as the geometry (and UVs) were consistent throughout I would be able to control the tread designs through displacements alone.
Initially I though I would be able to take the same approach for the wheel rim designs however they proved so much harder than I expected (at least from a loop able POV). All the wheel designs had to be procedurally modelled using the parallel rings/splines I mentioned previously and needed to withstand a lot of deformation as the rings passed around each other each transition. The simplest way I found to achieve this was to create 2 sets of animations for each wheel style, one that transitions into its solid shape from just a ring spline and another that does the reverse. Some of the smoother geometric rim designs worked well for this however the more angular ones proved problematic as they ‘broke’ very easily during the revolving transition. Once these were in place, I was then able to offset them in time and combine them with the tyre tread motion to complete the effect.
© 2021 Mark Lindner