Looking for some all-time great works of art, but don’t fancy hopping on a plane to Paris? If you’ve got a PlayStation, keep your bum parked firmly on your sofa - we’re bringing the art to YOU.
We at Media Molecule included a bunch of artist-friendly tools in Dreams for players looking to express their creativity (we’re into that kind of thing - remember LittleBigPlanet and Tearaway?). Some of our community blasted straight past “creative expression” and right into “making visual masterpieces that taught our eyes new ways of seeing, and caused a single tear to cinematically slide down our cheeks and into our open mouths”.
Prepare to experience the salty taste of PURE, UNADULTERATED ART, then, as we present our picks for some of the best art and animations in Dreams.
Let me Dream#
Estimated runtime: 3 mins
Meet S.A.M., a robot with a very human dream: to escape from a life of drudgery and toil in the factory, and seek freedom in the countryside. S.A.M.’s got more human qualities, too, the most notable being a beautiful Italian singing voice, with which they recount their tragic past and hopes for the future. Everything in this musical short film - from the details of the environments to the lighting, the believable swagger of the performing robots, right down to character details such as the plucking of stringed instruments or our hero’s swivelling sensor moustache - is made with professional-level attention to detail. This is a short so assured, you might almost expect to see it playing before a Pixar film - although the delightfully dark ending would likely have parents covering their kids’ eyes in horror.
Estimated playtime: 45 mins
Seeing a bunch of great art is one thing - and there’s so much of it in The Idyllium, from towering sculptures to thought-provoking paintings, all created by this team of three talented creators (all of whom have an obvious penchant for the surreal). But the museum it’s all displayed in being possibly the most impressive piece of the lot is something else entirely. Yes, The Idyllium is walkable art, a Brutalist’s dream in grey concrete and fluorescent lighting. It also feels alive, somehow. Some of that is down to the wordless design of the space, as doorways neatly frame statues from certain angles, or following swooping rails lead you towards new areas. Much of it, however, can be attributed to the physical shifts in the building, as new creations, hallways, secrets and even entire new wings (in the case of the Gallery Of Bevis) unfurl before your feet.
Somewhere Between, Part 1: A Walk in the Park#
Estimated playtime: 20 mins
You’ve been playing a lot of videogames lately, haven’t you. Why not take a break and touch some grass? Oh, not real grass, of course not. Who’s got the time for that? Better to simply boot up this first person stroll through a photorealistic forest, which is truly the next best thing to being out in nature. You can almost feel the lush green bushes brushing against your arms, the dry russet leaves crunching underfoot. On a micro and macro scale, this is breath-taking work. Not only are the close-up textures immaculate - we’re not being facetious when we say that’s got to be one of the most exciting brick walls we’ve ever seen - but the sweeping vistas that you encounter around each bend are magnificent large-scale compositions, too. Still, it’s worth tearing your eyes away from the impressive views to focus in on some odd happenings; there’s some mighty strange stuff at work in this place, and the mystery seems set to continue over multiple parts.
Caféwave (Animated Painting)#
Estimated runtime: Looping
Hyperrealism is all well and good, but sometimes you want something a little bit less shiny and precise. Something that’s a little more handmade, where the heart - not the head - has guided the hand. Caféwave is a reminder of venwave’s philosophy as an artist: this cosy aquatic café exudes welcoming vibes, with its magical pastel colours and unselfconscious wobbly brushstrokes. The infinite loop of the animation is comforting, too, as a contented-looking barista unpacks boxes, while a customer contemplates life over a steaming cup of coffee, fish swim by the windows, and a ginger catshark snoozes in a corner. This is a truly special - and very personal, judging by the number of tributes to other Dreams players hidden around the place - composition. And, in a last show of community spirit, transparency and vulnerability from venwave, you can even see for yourself how it’s been put together by enabling Free Cam and diving into the painted layers.
NOGUCHI’S BELL series#
by Cyber_Sheep_Film, KeldBjones, gauffreman, kollwitzer, BumbleBurke, Robo_Killer_v2, Hackjaz, TheTurtleKing514, shandyboy1975, Zanctinian, SuperCatchyName, ArghostCentral, byvsen, MultiverseDreams, ce_lew_is, SSGTSOULE, IansaneArtist, Psyko_Dad, DreamsHorizon, TAPgiles, arseny3D, SakkusMind, thrjoker594, Canadian__Jedi and Denjo92
Estimated runtime: 1 hour
We’ve already written at length about this action-packed animated samurai adventure, which found enormous success on Kickstarter - but we’d be remiss not to include young ronin Noguchi Michio in this list. Cyber Sheep Film have picked their stylised, delightfully over-the-top aesthetic and stuck to it; the memorable character designs (such as the craggy-faced noodle vendor and the kappa villagers) combined with complex facial rigging, top-tier voice acting and sound design ensure the team is able to tell a rich story without very many words at all. The art, animation and directorial chops on display here are undeniable - indeed, the list of collaborators reads like a who’s who of art and animation brilliance in Dreams, including talent such as arseny3D, IansaneArtist, byvsen, SakkusMind, kollwitzer, gauffreman and more. As there are just two episodes available at time of writing, it’s worth bearing in mind that even with a larger team, creations of this calibre take time.
Estimated playtime: Replayable
Human faces are weird. Noses: odd. Eyeballs: gross. Like, ears? Really? Whoever came up with that one should be fired. They look like haunted pork scratchings. Anyway - in Android 8.15, willow_the_bob captures the weird and wonderful of the human face in shockingly accurate detail. From the believable asymmetry of the lips and ears, to the subtle animated details of smile lines and flickerings of the eyelids, it’s an astonishing feat of Dreams-made engineering. And that’s before you realise you can actually interact with, and control in detail, this photorealistic robotic creation. Indeed, in all its perfectly imperfect glory, this pretend human is so convincing that we’re not sure we’d clock it if it walked past us in our local supermarket.
Time Moves Slow#
Estimated playtime: N/A
How to pick just one of Solid1156’s remarkable digital paintings? The artist’s mastery of colour and composition shines through any theme they turn their brush to: glittering cityscapes, impressionist portraits, stylised moonbases, melting ruins steeped in fog, fantastical fairytale locales. Time Moves Slow feels a bit special, though. Solid1156 is clearly interested in exploring the ideas of the natural world vs the manmade, and how scale can invoke strong emotion in the viewer. This scene is a distillation of all of that wonder: the giant circular opening in the concrete shelter, reclaimed by trailing vines and eager trees; the lighting that throws the silhouette of an enraptured hiker into sharp relief.
Haven't slurped down quite enough ART for your liking? That's fair: just seven Dreams creations is a particularly tiny selection from this giant category, so check out our Art & Animation playlists in Dreams for more. Select Dreams By Genre on the front page of DreamSurfing, then head into Art & Animation. There's enough there to keep you going for ages.
Want to save a bunch of good stuff for later? Behold - all our Art & Animation playlists in one handy collection. Just make sure you're logged in to your PlayStation account, then smash that button to add it to your Play Later queue.
Brilliant art, all without the plane trip. Think of all the emissions you've saved! Treat yourself to a plastic straw or something.
The Dreams User Guide is a work-in-progress. Keep an eye out for updates as we add more learning resources and articles over time.