Inside the Creative Wormhole: How a 21 Second Video Took 6-Months To Make

3DBlenderAnimationCreative ProcessAudioArtistic ChallengesAI

In the unfolding story of Bold Horizon, my six-month journey was marked by a relentless quest for the perfect expression. Imagine this: I went through over twenty different ideas, experimenting with a blend of 3D and real-life video tests, each one a step in the quest to encapsulate the essence of Bold Horizon. It was a solo marathon of creativity, where every idea, whether it took shape or faded away, contributed to a larger vision.

Yet, the true test of this journey was its final stretch. With the launch date fast approaching, the right concept for the promotional video remained elusive. It was in these final, pressure-packed days that a moment of clarity struck. Drawing from the depth of all my previous trials and ideas, I finally settled on a concept that truly resonated with the spirit of Bold Horizon. Join me as I take you through this process, revealing how the Bold Horizon promotional video came to life just in the nick of time.

Brace yourself, because this is going to be quite the adventure and a lengthy post. Go ahead and brew a cup of coffee, and get ready for the ride.

Oh, and by the way, I'm not an expert in any of the things I'm describing on this page. I'm just a guy who has been doing this stuff for years because I find it enjoyable. Some might say, "Stick to your trade." But my philosophy is different: what I can't do today, I'll do a bit better tomorrow by facing challenges and finding solutions. So, while you won't find perfection in every detail, you'll witness a journey of learning and growth. Each project is a step forward in my skills and understanding.

To you, the reader, I hope this serves as a reminder that expertise isn't about being flawless. It's about the relentless pursuit of improvement, about embracing the learning curve, and about finding joy in the process. If my journey can inspire you to tackle your own projects, regardless of your current skill level, then sharing my experiences has served a greater purpose.

Also, here's a little confession: I use A.I. There, I've said it. I'm a user of A.I and I absolutely love it. It's a game-changer for me, allowing me to accomplish more in the same amount of time. I extensively use ChatGPT for brainstorming and helping me polish my writings. And I'm also a fan of ElevenLabs for their world-class text-to-speech capabilities. Embracing these tools enhances my creativity and productivity. Just like any tool, it's about how you use it to bring your visions to life.

The Failed Concepts

Initially, my plan was to focus on the contrast between masculinity and femininity, especially since Bold Horizon is a robust, masculine fragrance. As someone who leans more towards audio and music than design, video, or film – though I'm certainly passionate about the latter – I have more experience with sound. That's probably why I often start a video from an auditory perspective, in this case, with a voiceover.

After pondering the kind of promo I could create, I settled on a humorous approach, highlighting the contrast between men and women. I envisioned a room filled with burning "feminine" candles – I was thinking of colorful, sweet-scented ones – and then posing a question to men about their influence on household choices. The ultimate touch: a man standing up and using a flamethrower to extinguish the candles! I could already see it in my mind.

This brainstorm led me to the following voiceover script:

Men, how much say do you really have at home? Isn't it time to reclaim your space – but also create an ambiance that's unmistakably yours?

Introducing Bold Horizon. Unleash the adventurous spirit of leather, the rich allure of smoky woods, and the classic essence of tobacco.

Bold Horizon is more than a candle – it's a declaration. A bold masculine presence that fills a room silently, crafting an atmosphere you're drawn to.

Bold Horizon – because real men appreciate a finely scented space too.

A.I. generated with - without any processing
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This idea, in its many variations, lingered in my mind for quite some time – approximately four out of the six months dedicated to conceptualizing the Bold Horizon promo. However, it remained somewhat nebulous for a while. At the time, this didn't concern me much as I believed I had ample time – little did I know it would turn into quite a saga.

Gradually, the concept began to crystallize. I imagined a man sitting on a couch, filming and voicing his displeasure about the abundance of candles in the house. Then, he stands up, ignites everything into flames, and finally places the Bold Horizon candle in its stead. This became the script:

Men, how do you want your living room to smell? Like a bouquet of roses? Or like the embodiment of rugged individuality?

Introducing Bold Horizon, the uniquely masculine scented candle. Handcrafted for men who defy norms and define their own atmosphere. Ignite your space with Bold Horizon. Available now in limited edition on

A.I. generated with - without any processing - now with a different voice for this specific scenario
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Visualizing the Concept: From Idea to Action

I had this clear vision in my mind, yet transforming it into a tangible reality proved to be a complex puzzle. I pondered over how to bring this vision to life. Should I immerse myself in 3D modeling with Blender, creating the scene through detailed animation and rendering? Or perhaps, should I adopt a more direct approach – filming myself in action, rising from a seat, walking towards the TV, and in a moment of frustration, flinging away a bunch of candles, maybe even wielding a mock flamethrower for a more dramatic effect and accurate motion tracking? Another idea was to perform with a mock flamethrower against a green screen. Sure, syncing the lighting with the flamethrower to match the 3D animation would be challenging, but I wasn’t looking for the easy way out.

After much deliberation, I decided on the latter approach, which seemed to offer the best of both worlds. Embracing my impulsive nature, I set out to create a mock flamethrower.

A photo of the MOCK flamethrower, with a focus on the front since the back won't be visible
A photo of the MOCK flamethrower, with a focus on the front since the back won't be visible
Detailed photo of the front part OF THE MOCK FLAMETHROWER
Detailed photo of the front part OF THE MOCK FLAMETHROWER

With the flamethrower ready, I embarked on recording the video, initially setting aside the green screen part to focus on perfecting the animation first. I used CamTrackAR, an iPhone app that records video while capturing your phone's position and rotation in 3D space. This animation data can then be imported into Blender to animate your virtual camera. Below was the video I recorded with the app.

I'll get to how this tracked video turned out in Blender later, but after about six weeks of rigorous attempts, I had to face the fact that my vision wasn't materializing as hoped. In Blender, I encountered numerous obstacles that proved too complex to overcome. A significant issue was the candle flame behavior; I wanted it to always point upwards, emulating real-world physics where the flame follows movement before stabilizing upright with a natural wiggle. Despite delving into Blender's physics and other functionalities, the desired effect eluded me. I did manage a workaround using a Python script (and a bit of help from ChatGPT as I've never wrote a script for Blender before), but it was frustratingly slow given the number of candles in my scene.

The candle flame wasn’t the sole challenge; the flamethrower simulation added to my troubles. Based on my previous experience with simulations, I assumed creating a fluid simulation for the flamethrower’s fire in Blender wouldn’t be overly difficult. However, the result was disappointingly unrealistic, prompting me to scrap it entirely. I then turned to EmberGen, a software known for real-time simulation of fluids, fire, and smoke, with extensive settings for realism. Yet, even with EmberGen, the outcomes failed to meet my expectations, looking too artificial.

It wasn't just the lack of realism that was the issue; although post-processing and grading might have somewhat improved the visuals, and the scene, textures, and lighting all needed significant enhancements, the core problem was the physics of the candles and flames. There were persistent issues, further complicated by the combination of Blender simulations and my custom Python script. My animations frequently became glitchy due to changes in Blender’s simulations not lining up with the animations from my script.

Ultimately, I decided it was time to let go. This video was not the end goal; the focus was promoting the Bold Horizon candle, and this endeavor was taking up far too much of my time. It was time to move forward, perhaps with a simpler approach this time. Below are the results of my efforts so far.

So, what now? I knew I had to simplify things. The deadline was looming. No time left for wild ideas. Back to brainstorming it was. Meanwhile, I had started working in Blender on a music video for a track I'm planning to release next year – more on that later :) Despite years of experience with Blender, it was this music video project that gradually bolstered my confidence in creating realistic renders, provided I invested enough time.

What if I focused solely on ideas involving 3D imagery? Slowly, I found myself slipping back into the "Into The Wormhole" phase (more on this later – so make sure to subscribe to my newsletter or follow me on social media). Numerous ideas came to mind, but it was one of the simplest concepts that stuck. The idea was that Bold Horizon transforms your space.

Visualizing the transformation of a space is relatively straightforward. You start with a colorful, feminine setting – think glossy magazines, lipstick, pink candles – and transition it, through animation, to a space filled with darker hues, leather, tools – cliché, but clear. However, even with this idea, I perhaps should have given more thought to it in hindsight. Realism was again a challenge, something I need and want to focus on in the future, especially since my goal for next year is to produce my first short film (version 6 of the scripts is almost ready), which will require realistic 3D renders.

Back to the promo, I faced a stark realization with the test below: this approach simply wasn't working out. The degree of realism I sought appeared unattainable within the tight timeframe I was working with. Moreover, I ran into some strange rendering glitches, which are quite apparent in the video you see here. Adding to these challenges, and I'm not certain if it's connected to the glitches, but my PC crashed soon after this render...

Revisiting the Drawing Board: Balancing Humor and Product Focus

At this juncture, the pressure began to mount. I was constantly moving in and out of the wormhole, progressing through test numbers 12, 13, 14, and beyond. Eventually, I found myself stepping back and reassessing my approach. I had been fixated on creating a viral video, one that was humorous. But I began to wonder if humor was the right path. Humor can be a delicate balance – it needs to be funny enough to engage, yet serious enough to be taken as a legitimate product promotion, not just a spoof.

This realization brought me to a pivotal point: it wasn't just about the video; it was about the candle itself. I began immersing myself in product commercial video tutorials, which led to an epiphany. My 3D renders of the candle had taken tangible form; I had the candles physically with me, and a high-quality film camera at my disposal. It was time to shoot some actual video footage. However, time was a constraint yet again. Lighting a black jar, as it turned out, was a task easier said than done for a novice. But my proficiency in Blender came to the rescue. I decided to replicate in Blender what I intended to do in real life. This was the turning point where everything began to click into place.


The idea became clearer. I needed to focus on luxury. Black and white. Highlighting a few unique features of the candle. Touching on the fact that the scent is masculine but also loved by women (based on real-world tests with friends). Maybe a voice-over with a British accent to add an extra touch of class? This eventually became the script.

Voice over:
Introducing Bold Horizon. Experience the luxury of 100% natural soy wax. Handmade in the Netherlands. Bold Horizon is more than a masculine scent; it's a universally admired statement. Discover Bold Horizon, and more, at:

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Working from the audio, I began the 3D animation of the jars. Guided by the audio, I developed a preliminary version of the animation. Recognizing the crucial role of lighting in this concept, I opted to refine it post-rendering. This technique, which I previously utilized in certain scenes of the music video I mentioned, involves rendering multiple light sources from various angles independently and then merging them in post-production. This process allows me to blend all layers into a single image, where I can fine-tune the impact of each layer (or light) on the final output. While this method does extend the rendering time, it’s not an issue since I can render the animation overnight and work with the results whenever time permits, offering significant flexibility in post-production. Below is an example of this approach.

Testing and Refinement

In this phase, things progressed quickly. I had a clear vision that seemed achievable. I frequently rendered the animation from Blender with very few samples (8 or 16) and imported them into After Effects to combine with the titles. It took several rounds to get the animation to align beautifully with the text and the image I had in my head. With a few more timing tweaks in post, it was done. On to the next phase, the details. Below is a test with few samples (8 - averaging 2 seconds per frame for a 500-frame animation with 6 render layers on an Nvidia 4080). The final render was rendered with 8000 samples and somewhere between 1,5 and 2 minutes per frame.

Attention to Small Details

I set out to include subtle details in my work, such as imperfections on the surfaces of materials. One particular detail I focused on was adding dust particles and small hairs to the tins and packaging. This might seem a bit excessive, but these small elements can dramatically boost realism. I learned this technique recently and found it incredibly effective. It's definitely something I plan to utilize more in upcoming projects. The method involves crafting hair-like shapes (essentially boxes extruded into random hair-like forms) and blobs with random deformations, then rendering them non-glossy, white, and semi-transparent before scattering them randomly over the surface.

To be honest, most of these fine details became less visible in the final version due to my preference for a more contrast-rich appearance rather than a faded one. This choice to enhance contrast ultimately masked many of the subtler details. However, this exploration was a valuable learning experience for me, and I'm excited to apply this detailing technique more frequently in future projects.

DUST and hair OBJECTS & material in blender
DUST and hair OBJECTS & material in blender
usage example
usage example

When it comes to realism in this project, lighting plays a pivotal role, especially in how it reflects off the cans and wax material. To enhance this realistic effect, I incorporated subsurface scattering into the wax. To reduce the overly-rendered 3D appearance, I applied a blend of techniques: initially a light blur, followed by sharpening, and then a mild blur again. Moreover, I added some light leaks and bokeh effects by overlaying real video footage, alongside a subtle orange/yellow tint to bring in a hint of warmth. This was complemented by a blur near the frame edges, a gentle vignette, and a touch of film grain. On the whole, I'm quite pleased with the final look and overall animation.

Note: I recommend watching the full animation at the bottom of this post to form your own opinion before you read on.


There are a few elements in the project that still strike me as slightly off. One noticeable issue is the static nature of the flames when the candles swirl around each other. Another aspect is the brightness of the flame; it appears too bright, especially when compared to the surrounding bright lights. In reality, such a small flame probably wouldn't emit that much brightness.

Additionally, the end scene still gives off a bit too much of a computer-generated render feel for my liking. Then there's the issue of the wiggle. Despite numerous tests, there was something amiss with the animation – it wasn’t perfectly centered in the frame, and I had already moved forward with rendering it in Blender. My workaround involved manually adjusting the position of the cans throughout the animation and adding a bit of wiggle. This was meant to mask the corrections, although I would probably have included some wiggle anyway, albeit in a more subtle manner.

This animation marked my inaugural foray into using Blender 4, now equipped with the AGX view transform. I ventured through online tutorials to configure AGX in After Effects, successfully mirroring the Blender look. Yet, a challenge arose during the export from After Effects – the final output appeared starkly different. To counter this, I applied an extra curves adjustment in After Effects, fine-tuning it to my desired visual outcome. However, this project might be my last using After Effects, as I'm gradually transitioning to Davinci Resolve. Consequently, I'm not inclined to delve into a potential solution for this export issue in After Effects.

Despite these minor concerns, I'm truly happy with the opening shot and the swirling motion of the cans – these parts, I consider a success. A note to myself (and something I've reminded myself of many times) is the importance of gathering and using reference videos/photos during this part of the process. Guessing how it should look is one thing; having references provides clarity on how it actually should look.

Musical Composition and Integration

During this phase, I started with some light color grading, edging ever closer to the final version of the project. However, the music creation, which was significantly overdue, brought me back to a familiar and somewhat less favored task: decision-making. The options were plentiful: a jazzy tune for added elegance, although potentially excessive; a glitchy track for a modern edge; perhaps a hip-hop beat, or even venture into EDM or IDM territory. Another concept was to create something entirely abstract, stretching a voice to serve as the foundational layer for the rest of the audio, including sound effects and voiceover.

But one thing was clear: the music needed to be slightly unconventional and offbeat to truly capture the boldness of the project – a subtle nod to its uniqueness. So, I began with a quirky synth loop, setting the stage for the music breakdown video. Next, I added two distinct drum loops from a sample library, each extensively modified in terms of sound quality, stereo sensation, and even timing. Another key element was my own voice, heavily processed to sound almost otherworldly, with a touch of glitch. And, of course, the indispensable 808 kick drum, which completed the composition and brought a sense of depth to it. Below, you can delve into the breakdown of all these elements and hear the final musical outcome.

Note: Please see the full animation at the end of this post before watching this as you may hear sounds you can't unhear in the final video.

So, at this point, the foundational audio work was complete. For the voiceover, I carried out some basic post-processing tasks, including equalizing, de-essing, compression, and limiting. Additionally, I applied processing on the master track to cohesively bind all the elements together and achieve the desired loudness level.

The Final Result: A Culmination of Creativity and Hard Work

After months of relentless effort, creative challenges, and numerous revisions, the Bold Horizon promotional video is finally ready. Reflecting on this project, I view it as a pivotal moment in my creative journey. It stretched my skills in Blender to new limits, challenged my artistic instincts, and underscored the importance of finding simplicity within complexity. This endeavor was more than just creating a video for a product; it was an evolution in my creative process, teaching me to harmonize the intricate with the straightforward, and the bold with the subtle. Without further ado, here is the result.

Interested in more content like this? Let me know - follow and contact me on my socials, through the form on this page, or subscribe to the newsletter. If you're intrigued by the candles I craft myself, visit Discover Bold Horizon and more at the shop.

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