What is Mindfood? Is it delicious? Nutritious? Is it high in fibre? Not exactly. Mindfood is an Ealing based charity, whose goal is to support people’s mental health through gardening and mindfulness.
Good question! In our modern day lives it seems easier than ever to get bogged down by stress. Sometimes it can feel as if the weight of the world is bearing down on you, and ironically the feeling of loneliness is common in an age of communication. This is where Mindfood and their wonderful team come in!
There’s real power in those plant pots. Taking care of a living thing, and bringing a garden to life can have a positive effect on mental health. A renewed sense of purpose, a change in perspective or a pinch of escapism can go a long way. All of this is bolstered by a lovely community of caring volunteers across a range of sites throughout the UK.
Over at Mindfood their goals and their messages are wholesome. Everyday someone discovers Mindfood, whether they want to grow something, they’re seeking support or looking for a community to be part of. But, what about the people who don’t know about Mindfood, who don’t know that help exists?
That’s where Bud comes in.
Directed by the BAFTA award winner Claire Norowzian (who was also the mastermind behind the incredible Euros ad with Ian Wright!), Bud is a short film about mental health. We follow a 20 something young man who feels trapped in more ways than one; he’s unemployed, bombarded by social media and is completely drained of motivation. He spends his days in bed without a visible way out, and without a way forward.
Until one day, his houseplant Bud speaks! It asks him, “Hey, are you alright?” From this humble question spawns a miraculous adventure and a newfound friendship. The short explores an avenue of support for anyone suffering with their mental health or wellbeing.
Bud tells our hero about a wonderful place called Mindfood, a place where anyone is welcome. The pair visit the Mindfood allotments where our 20 something hero gets stuck in with some gardening, building Bud a new home and meeting the community.
No, not like a plant based burger. Well, actually… We DID have to build a plant based ACTOR!
The first thing decided on was the style; Claire the director, Luwina Lo the producer, the art department working on the project and us over at Grizzle worked together to create something fun and unique.
We went over a bunch of work flows and techniques in our pursuit of Bud, including fully motion tracked rigs, characters driven by the expressions of the actors. We built our own faces in 3D and explored brand new and exciting technologies.
Then we had it, our Bud! We’d take the faces of the actors themselves and stick ‘em directly onto plants. Not literally however, that would be immoral.
From the start our goal was to make Bud as convincing as possible. As convincing as a talking plant could possibly be, but also instantly recognisable. From there we decided to anthropomorphise Bud; the act of giving something not human, human traits! We built him a pair of arms in the form of two large leaves and rigged the stalk like a human’s torso, with a neck that connected to the flower. The bones on Bud’s rig were also put together with human anatomy in mind, meaning Bud could communicate with his body language as well as his expressions.
The project was made using Cinema4D and rendered using Octane. Bud’s body was built using a Calendula 3D model from Quixel Megascans. Using a workflow between Cinema4D and Adobe After Effects we brought Bud’s 3D body directly into our editing software.
From here, we motion tracked Bud’s body to his live action plant pot, and using tracking data from a tracking marker in Cinema4D we tracked Bud’s head (the actor’s face) onto the top of the stalk. When done right, this combination creates the illusion of Bud sitting in his plant pot.
We worked with a range a extremely skilled and passionate people to bring this project to life. A full crew of experts and volunteers as well as the lovely people over at Mindfood.
In the spirit of Bud’s core message we ended up becoming buds ourselves, buds to one another. Film crew, sound experts, special effects guys, actors, editors, makeup artists, caterers, all coming together to do a bit of good.
Ask a friend how they’re doing, and take care of yourself. If you feel like our 20 something hero know you’re not alone and that there are people who care. Most of all, a bit of care goes further than you think.