Perfect isometric 3D animation!

This animation, Subprime by Mike Winkelmann is amazing. Lets get that obvious comment out of the way. Please watch it because the still shots below do not do it justice and I think its important to understand what’s so unique about Subprime. But if you don’t get it just from watching it, here goes…

Mike’s camera is constantly swiveling around this iso-world, and YET the rules of iso-symmetry are somehow still VERY intact. What rules do I mean?… well, we all know on paper (or in your 2D illustration programs) isometric art conforms to an infinity parallel grid. So every iso-artist begins by drawing out a ton of diagonal straight lines that are equi-distant from each other and uses that as a guide for every line to follow. The Grid is God, whether or not it lives to be visible in the end of the piece, its still the law. And if you grew up playing Paperboy by Atari (or grew up centuries ago before artists used perspective lines) than you probably have some serious love for isometric art.  Which is why its so painfully ugly when its done wrong.

Remember this post I linked up a couple weeks ago about Comcast’s s**tty attempt at doing something similar. Kris left a comment that summed up better than I could what was so wrong about it…

…the real people/isometric idea is upsetting to me. Upsetting in a obsessive compulsive way. When one of the real people are at a slightly wrong angle, I just want to stick my hand through my monitor, grap them, and twist them so they look right. Unfortunatly, I didn’t lay down the dimensions in my pixel world, and in doing this I have now made a tree look like it’s at the wrong angle. So I twist that. Now the dog looks bad. So I….AAAAHHHGGGG!

Well put. When watching Subprime, I have zero urge to reach in there and force everything back to conforming to the Grid. And yet, if you told me before watching Mike’s incredible piece that some dude made an isometric world in 3D and spun the camera in circles the entire time, I’d be like “How can it NOT look f******?!”

What else raises the Love-Meter for me?… watching the transitions from constructing to deconstructing and back again are hypnotic. I’ve watched this 5 times already and it feels like a different animation each time. I haven’t worked in 3D in years but I know there’s no “magic button” for doing the things Mike has painstakingly crafted here.

Conclusion: I’m going to buy that house for sale at the end. Oops, spoiler.

Subprime (Isometric animation)


6 thoughts on “Perfect isometric 3D animation!

  1. Now THAT is cool. Very sims-esque in the way that obects are dropping in and out. I like it a lot…

    Also, they have got the use of music spot on here. Unlike the other one. It’s a clever touch probably hardly noticed, but the music is very rigid, very robotic, very “straight lined”. Clever usage…

  2. aristides castiglioni says:

    this animation rules!!! it´s an amazing piece of work, but i think i know why it works so fine from an isometric point of view, i don´t know if i´m right or not but i think that it works as an isometric anim because it IGNORES the isometric point of view, that´s why it´s so natural. I think that the anim was created as a normal animation, it wasn´t really planned to be isometric, the only reason it looks isometric is for the style of the art that the anim uses, and i think that´s what drags you to think that it´s an isometric anim, but to be honest i think this guy just animated the whole thing without paying too much atention to the grid, and when the camera moves the grid “appears” because of the artwork, not becasue it was created in a isometric point of view, watch carefully and in many frames the little guy is just moving towards a door for example but a s the camera moves we see that it´s not really an “isometric” movement, it´s just moving towards the door. The style of the figures is what makes it look like isometric. Well that´s what i think i dunno probably i´m just wrong, but it´s an awesome work no doubt.

    see ya!!!!

  3. Thanks for all of the great feedback. Actually regarding the isometric view thing… that was actually a problem I faced when starting out. I realized quickly though that the only way to do it in Cinema 4D (as far as i know) was to continuously rotate the entire world and leave the camera stationary.

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