March 7, 2002

This project has two parts. The first was to develop a toy that was to later inspire an animation. The toy was a starting point, and the animation was considered the final piece. I had many paper-plans for balsa gliders from my childhood, and the concept of flight was something that I could work from very easily. I fundamentally split my animation up into 6 distinct parts that relate to living and dying, and walking and flying: Constraint, Conception, Assembly, Trajectory, Bliss, Intermission, and finally Reanimation. These steps relate to the process of launching a glider into the air. Flying a toy glider is quite possibly the closest one can get to experiencing flight itself, especially for the creator.


All the original cloud timelapse was photographed with my Olympus still camera, actually. It has a very highquality capture rate for small sections of time.

The animation was edited and compiled in After Effects. I would capture stills, run them through Lightwave to composite the render, and then output a sequence for processing.

Interface screenshot of the
"Reanimation" closing sequence.

One of the most interesting sequences of this project to animate for myself, was the "Bliss" sequence of the glider swooping through the apple tree. I used Lightwave's built-in particle and volumetric system for the pollen buds, and animated the letterforms by hand.


A hypervoxel is a 3D pixel used to create volumetric effects such as, in my case, pollen. Hypervoxeles are rendered in post, and allowed me a great deal of options to get the effect I wanted.

Although the technology looks very similar to metaballs, which Lightwave also supports (as well as Maya), I was able to render hypervoxels considerably faster as there is no physical geometry.

Density tweaking. The most important aspect of this shot was the the transparency surrounding the edges of each particle.

Color and self-lighting tweaking. Getting there, too dense.

Home stretch.

Final pollen decision.


Initial plate with glider composited. No pollen present yet.

Addition of pollen before tweaking. Scale is off. Slightly.

Experimentation with pollen-glow and self blurring. Color matching and movement has already been solidified, and minor tweaks are all that's left.

Final composite shot with full motion blur and antialiasing.

Interface screenshot of the "Bliss" sequence.

Final composite animation.

© 2002 GDUNNE