Explore a journey wherever it takes you 
I disembarked on "Explore"  with the challenge of only using Houdini, which I had relatively little experience with. For it all to come together, it required me to dive much deeper into the software and understand the overall framework, solving problems as I went along or coming up with different approaches.
While this was meant as a learning experience, it also needed to be delivered. This required technical solutions such as batch caching of simulations for faster iterations. Also, I developed a render management system allowing me to render on multiple computers simultaneously because I love refractive materials way more than my laptop allows. 
Process + R&D
Render Management System
This 44-second video consists of just over 1000 frames. However, several thousand frames were rendered for quick previews, testing different iterations, render bugs, etc. Working from just a laptop with a mediocre graphics card, I quickly realized a project on this scale would be extremely time-consuming. The time waiting for the renders would eat all my time to do the actual work and be creative. 
However, with my brother recently getting a much more powerful computer and not needing to do very high-performance tasks,  I knew my solution would be to set up a system to schedule renders for both of our machines. By using: Deadline, a VPN, and a cloud storage system, I was able to easily submit render jobs while working. Not only did the overall render speed increase by 400% but now I was able to see the results while working, allowing me to change whatever I needed without waiting until the next day (or sometimes several).

Design & Animation: Nick Bauer
Sound Design: Blink Audio
Inspired By: Tendril, Wes Cockx, JunJie