“Magic In Your Hands” opens with a 3D animated sequence as the live-action kids grab the Kinetic Sand and squish it in their hands, activating a series of colorfully animated sand creations that pop up out of nowhere as the kids watch in amazement.
“The sand creations are whimsical and fun, representing what the kids imagine they will create with this fabulous stuff,” said creative director Wayne Brejcha. “The animation was designed to mimic a classic stop-motion technique where you start with the whole sculpture, slice bits off of it as you shoot successive frames and play the results in reverse to watch the sculpture assemble. We made the building motion intentionally staccato with limited use of motion blur to help simulate the stop-motion feel. The overall feel is playful without being overpowered by the digital effects.”
The Calabash 3D team based the CG effects on digital concepts and several rounds of practical and CG tests. The entire architectural space where the kids are standing was a computer creation, which gave the CG artists total control over the overall look. They worked closely with director Jordan Barker of Gearshift Productions, Toronto, to stay close to his original vision of how the effects would interact with the kids and the surrounding space.
“Our first rough animatics went through multiple iterations until we knew we had the right approach,” Brejcha said. “As we were developing the pre-vis, our CG artists were developing the techniques to create the objects and effects forming spontaneously as the kids appear to initiate the transformation. We referred heavily to the physical product and photos of sand sculptures to create the same look.”