The Plight Of The Humble Bee

There has been a lot going on in the media (unfortunately not the main steam media), about the worldwide decimation of bee colonies. This has been brought on almost entirely by the overuse of pesticides and most specifically Neonicotinoids, which the bees unwittingly ingest whilst going about their business of pollenating the worlds crops and flora.

3d Swarm

If bee populations are wiped out, which is happening, there is no viable alternative for pollination. Humans are smart, but are also incredibly dumb. We pollute this planet with manmade chemicals that cause an imbalance to nature. We’ve decided that we know best and have ignored millions of years of evolution and fine tuning of the natural world. Multinational Corporations like Monsanto and Bayer are lobbying the world governments to let them continue to use pesticides that are bee-killers. They know there pesticides are the cause of this but are willing to put profit before the good of mankind, nature and common sense. After all if the bees do die out, there will be no more crops to dust with their poisonous product.

Monster B-Movie

So I thought I’d make a B-Movie.

3D Bee Model

I decided to make a satirical corporate movie promoting the latest product from Bayer. The MECHABEE. This little drone is the future of pollination. It’s programable, reliable and most importantly, it works for the company. Anything you don’t want pollinated, just say so, but rape seed and cattle feed will be serviced by these Bayer Mechabees™.

 

“IF THE BEE DISAPPEARS FROM THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH, MAN WOULD HAVE NO MORE THAN 4 YEARS TO LIVE”

ALBERT EINSTEIN

 

HoneyBee 01

As I set about creating this little Bee model, I was inspired by Steampunk mechanics. I didn’t want to make a sleek drone with a modern plastic shell. I wanted the core to be a honeycomb bolt, with a mechanic watch for a heart. It needed to resemble a bee, with beating wings and a characterful face. The face also needed to be emotionless, after all it is a programmed drone.

Honey Bee Wireframe

The abdomen is encased in armour to protect the Neonicotinoid payload. Bayer is not in the business of saving the world, just it’s strangle hold on the market and its share-hold value.

3d Honeybee full render

I had quite a lot of rigging to do in this project which was great fun, but I’m sure I’ve gone about it in a ridiculous way. The clock mechanics went crazy when the wings started to beat, and all collisions were animated my hand. I think this is a limitation of using Cinema 4D Lite. However I was quite impressed with the results. The head swivelled and turned and the feet all kicked into life as the bee takes flight.
I was happiest though with the amber abdomen which bent and twisted as the armour stretched and contracted.

C4D B

It took a while getting the right textures for the model. I used a hexagonal pattern for the armour and head. And a tight hexagonal mesh for the body. Copper and glass added finishing touches to the body.

The wings were a mixture of patterned cells, drawn in illustrator from a diagram of a bumblebee. I then needed to make them translucent with a bit of reflectiveness on them.

Mechabee Typefont

To complement the animation, I created my own honeycomb based typeface called Mechabee. Once again this was created in Illustrator and then extruded and textured in Cinema4D Lite.

The Plight of the Humble Bee

Not really sure why I did this, but with every experiment something comes out of it.

Buzzing Bee

And finally using Trapcode Form and vector blur I created some stylised bees. I ended up using them in the final animation just to shake things up a bit. I tried to use Trapcode Particular to create particles coming off the wings as they went up and down, but only after found a way of matching the strokes with the particle movement.

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