World of Color
To unveil the new World of Color nighttime prismatic water spectacle, Disney—along with Mcgarrybowen—reached out to Mirada.
Directed by Mathew Cullen and Christopher Leone, World of Color channels The Sorcerer’s Apprentice from the 1940 animated classic Fantasia; here, the mischievous, wizard-cloaked Mickey Mouse magically unleashes a kaleidoscopic explosion of water with his magic wand. At first he tries to stomp out the initial little spurts of colored water, like leaks in a boat hull, but the water show takes over, instantly escalating into its full effect. Mickey revels in the event, and literally conducts the symphony of luminous dancing liquid with his magic color-life-giving wand/baton. Classic Disney characters emerge from the dazzling fountains of colored water and light, miraculously forming into flowing liquid shapes that move with the animation and music.
Drawing on the wealth of visuals created for both the film and the interactive experience—including the epic CG park flythroughs—Mirada print designers used a vast array of 3D elements and passes to provide a layered foundation upon which the final print images were built. From there, every aspect of these individual frames was created from scratch – first sculpted in Maya and Zbrush, then meticulously painted in Mari. The layout, lighting, and rendering was done in Maya 2012, and rendered in vRay. Next, these rendered images were composited in Nuke as a base and Photoshop delicately painted in the final details. This level of painstaking layering and attention to detail contributed to print images that resonate with everything we love about Disney – every image finely iconic and pristine; each its own idealized, emotional portrait of wonder contained within the park.
Classic Disney characters emerge from the dazzling fountains of colored water and light...
The World of Color production spanned February through June, 2010. The visual effects teams were charged with conceptualizing and designing the story for all animations – including directing Mickey’s animation with lead animator Tony Bancroft from Duck Studios, and depicting Pixar characters in 3D water form.
To re-create the characters as liquid entities, and have them interact with the elaborate 3D water fountains and environments, the team rendered over 150 fluid and volumetric mist elements with cutting-edge beta software to produce a massive amount of 3D fluid simulations. The resulting scenes were a complex mixture of 3D water effects, background mist projection screens, and real fountains of water that shot 150-200 feet into the air.
The resulting scenes were a complex mixture of 3D water effects, background mist projection screens, and real fountains of water that shot 150-200 feet into the air.
Cullen and Leone approached the blocking and design of the animation with a live-action sensibility wherein the camera angles, lensing, and movement would highlight both Mickey’s personality and the epic scale of the water spectacle. Led by Andrew Ashton, the compositing team integrated 2D and 3D elements, synthesizing the best of both mediums in a way that allowed them to shine together in perfect harmony.
The World of Color film was an exercise in overcoming the challenges of integrating traditional 2D animated characters into a photo-real 3D world.
The key was striking that unique balance—finding that critical space where the two styles could coexist aesthetically—while retaining the fantasy edge that makes the Disney brand so magical. Mirada pushed the boundaries of CG fluid simulation technology to meet these challenges.