I took the inspiration for this project from my first undergraduate studies: biotechnology. During the Genetic Engineering class I worked with a very peculiar type of bacteria named Agrobacterium tumefaciens. This bacteria is known for its ability to infect plants with its DNA and mold their tissues to serve their own needs. Trees attacked by this bacteria develop a round tumor-like excrescence where said bacteria live.
This information I learnt came in handy when I got assigned with a task of creating my own environment for my Concept Art class during my Animation undergrad... And that's how Agrobacterium sapiens species came to extistance.
Below I present the animation I made in Unreal Engine 4. All the assets were created by me. The models in 3dsmax, rig and character animation were created in Maya2020 and the particles were created in Unreal Engine's Niagara system. I used UE's Sequencer to animate the cameras and render the video. Soundtrack used is a copyright free music.
Project explanation, from the narrative point of view:
Agrobacterium tumefaciens is a soil inhabitating bacteria that causes a plant disease called crown gall. Plants infected by those bacteria develop a rough, woody, tumor-like galls on their roots and trunks. This species is often used in biotechnology for the process of genetic transformation of plants and that is why I learnt about them.
Learning about those microorganisms had inspired me to create a little world, where they live an almost human-like life among their round treehouses. That’s how the Agrobacterium sapiens species emerged in my mind.
‘’Agrobacterium sapiens is a forest inhabitating single-celled organism that evolved form the Proteobacteria branch of the phylogenetic tree. It was once considered a pest but was eventually granted protection rights for it has developed characteristics of a civilized society.
Compared to their micro counterpart, the Agrobacterium tumefaciens species, Agrobacgterium sapiens grew in size and developed well coordinated limbs that have enabled them to produce and use simple tools such as fishing rods, nets, axes and shovels made of wood, spider web and fish scales. They also cover their bodies with clothing made of leaves, grass and bark. They emerge from their houses at night, when the temperature is lower and the level of humidity is higher. Recently, it has been confirmed that they use fluorescent fungi as a source of light.
Although we can’t communicate with them yet, from observations we know that they have developed a form of society with a clear division into specializations such as the Workers, Protectors and the Enlightened who seem to act as the priests and teachers among their community. The A.sapiens species is also oriented towards following the knowledge of their Elders. We still haven’t observed any cubs or babies (the Bioethics Council still haven’t decided on the nomenclature). It is believed that they don’t leave their houses until fully developed. There is no clear indication of the existance of sexual dimorphism among the species.’’