Leaf & Droplet, Opening Sequence: "Horton" (2008)

Copyright Blue Sky Studios.

The film opens with special FX; a rarity...and an exciting idea. I was cast the first 3 shots of the film.

Shot 1:
This effect is a modification of the icicle drips & droplets created for "Ice Age: The Meltdown". I animated the leaf and created the hero droplets. Because it is a macro shot, "tension" was added to the water beads via deformations of both rotation and scale of the individual spheres, cycling perpetually at varying amplitudes. The lead droplets follow motion paths constrained to the leaf. The deformations occur procedurally via expressions. The mist & incidental leaf droplets were created by Jamie Kirschenbaum. The glint was a masterful touch added by Dan Cayer in Compositing after the shot left the FX department.

Shot 2:
A simple collection of hand-animated spheres, meshed.

Shot 3:
A hybrid of hand-animated spheres and the splash rig from "Ice Age: The Meltdown".

The clip shows the working progression of the effect from conception to final frames.