A journey of light, from distant galaxies to small drops of water

The idea of this movie came to my mind just after Nature by Numbers was finished, although it was a much more ambitious project on these days, with more scenes and greater overall complexity. I realized that it would take forever to create that project… and decided to postpone it.

But in the end, when Inspirations was finished, I recovered that idea, easing here and there, and trying to keep its essence: a look into the light from several points of view. On one side it’s a powerful radiation emitted by the most distant stars in the universe, and also by our Sun; light floods everywhere in nature, from the largest things to the smallest, creating interesting and beautiful effects; humans always used light as a symbolic and spiritual element; and it’s too an intriguing physical phenomenon deeply studied by science.

So here is the result, together with the beautiful theme “The Gift” composed by the Icelandic musician Jóhann Jóhannsson. Hope you enjoy it.

This project was done using Modo and Cinema 4D. Here, some screen captures showing the making of:

The ideas behind Lux Aeterna

Light coming from Universe

Our journey starts with a vision of the spiral galaxy Messier 74, located 32 million light-years away from Earth. We will also see a shot inspired by LH 95, a blue ethereal-looking region of stars formation in the Large Magellanic Cloud. And finally we will approach to what is intended a remote and idealized view of our Sun, with its red corona and solar wind.

We approach the Sun slowly, the nearest star and our greatest source of light. At first stage we see it as a big red ball that emits a powerful and large ejection, and then we arrive to the surface to see the coronal loops, a direct consequence of the twisted solar magnetic flux.

Finally we arrive at home, the Earth, just in time to see how the sun rises over the Land of the Rising Sun. Because yes, that is the silhouette of Japan ;-)


Beauty lighting effects in nature

Antelope Canyon is one of the most famous geological formation in the U.S. Its distinctive volumes provides a great beauty and plasticity, because sunlight penetrates and is reflected off the canyon walls.


Volumetrics appears when light passes through undulating sea surface, and some beautiful caustic effects on the seabed.


Refraction makes that light seems “trapped” by tiny water droplets suspended in a spider web.


When light passes through certain volumes and materials, as grapes or tree leaves, we can see some subtle transparency and translucency effects that let us guessing the inner structure.


Light as a spiritual symbol

Light in Islamic Architecture is used to symbolically represent God’s presence in a space. And a particularly mediator of light and space in this architecture is latticework. It’s used to filter harsh sunlight, and it was developed out of necessity in the hot, harsh-sun climates of the Middle East and Asia. Interesting article on “Light in Islamic Architecture”, and this one too, about “Patterns, Light and Structure”.

The Church of the Light, by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, is one of his most famous works. Completely built of concrete, lacking any superfluous ornamentation in favor of the spirituality that gives natural light. Take a look at this interesting post in the blog “My Architectural Moleskine”.


The Great Torii of Itsukushima Shrine is a Shinto arch located near Hiroshima. Its function is to mark the boundary between profane and sacred spaces. And the vision of the Sun setting behind him attracts crowds, for their great beauty and because it’s almost like a mystical experience.


The study of light by science

In optics, a prism is a transparent piece with flat, polished surfaces that reflects, refracts and disperses the white light into its spectral colors (the rainbow). It has become also an iconic image ;-)


Ibn Sahl was a Persian mathematician and physicist that discovered the law of refraction, usually called Snell’s Law(manuscript reproduced on first book).

Albert Einstein studied Gravitational Lensing, as trajectories of light rays are curved by the gravitational field of a massive object (manuscript notes on second image).

Opticks is a book by Isaac Newton (third image) that analyzes the fundamental nature of light, studying things like refraction, diffraction and the behaviour of color mixtures with spectral lights or pigment powders. It is considered one of the great works of science in history.

Cristóbal Vila, January 2013, Zaragoza, Spain.