Coral Enneagrams

This project was commissioned by concert cellist, clinical psychologist, and multimedia artist Mia Pixely, for her album "Sound of the Reef - Coral Enneagrams," which she composed and performed along with Sami Freeman. Each track represents a different enneagram personality type, and each enneagram type is in turn embodied as a species of coral. All of the reefs were created procedurally, from the corals themselves, to the rocks, grass, sand, and animations. These were created first as procedural 3d models, and then fed through the 3d scene reconstruction tool Polycam to create a "Gaussian Splat," giving an intentionally soft, imperfect, dreamlike quality to the environments. This format is relatively new compared to other 3d scan reconstructions like point clouds, so it was an excellent chance to explore its unique visual and spatial qualities. Additionally, this process of reconstructing from artificial photos or videos, rendered rather than captured from a real 3d environment with a physical camera, has always been fascinating to me.

The album can be purchased in full on Bandcamp:

Prior to creating the artificial datasets, converting to a Gaussian Splat, and animating, the reefs began as low-poly procedural models with a soft, almost cartoonish aesthetic. The reconstruction was a key part of the 3d content pipeline in that it achieved a compelling visual identity while not resorting to labor-intensive realism, a choice both practically and stylistically in line with the commission.