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Sand animation

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A Ukrainian film, "Кіт та півнек" ("Cat and Rooster"), created using sand animation on glass.

Sand animation is the manipulation of sand to create animation. In performance art an artist creates a series of images using sand, a process which is achieved by applying sand to a surface and then rendering images by drawing lines and figures in the sand with one's hands. A sand animation performer will often use the aid of an overhead projector or lightbox (similar to one used by photographers to view translucent films). To make an animated film, sand is moved on a backlit or frontlit piece of glass to create each frame.


Techniques of animating with sand were pioneered by Caroline Leaf when she was an undergraduate art student at Harvard University in 1968.[1] She created her first film, Sand, or Peter and the Wolf (1968), by dumping beach sand on a light box and manipulating the grains to build figures, textures and movement, frame by frame.[2] In the 1970s, Eli Noyes, another Harvard graduate, created the short film Sandman (1973)[3][4] and the Sand Alphabet (1974), which became a feature on the children's educational television program Sesame Street.[5] About the same time Misseri Studio located in Italy produced the A.E.I.O.U. series, which was drawn in wet sand.[6] In 1977, The Sand Castle by Dutch-Canadian animator Co Hoedeman won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.[7] In 2006, Gert van der Vijver[8] created the series De Zandtovenaar ("The Sand Magician") on Dutch national television and since then, animates for the yearly outdoor play The Passion.

Notable artists[edit]


  1. ^ Roberts, Eric (1998). "Hand-Crafted Cinema Animation Workshop with Caroline Leaf". National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  2. ^ "The Animated Art of Caroline Leaf". Film Series / Events. Harvard College Library. November 5, 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  3. ^ Griffin, George (1980). Donald Peary and Gerald Peary (ed.). "Cartoon, Anti-Cartoon". The American Animated Cartoon: 261–268.
  4. ^ "Sandman". 2016 Federal Grant Winners. National Film Preservation Foundation. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  5. ^ Educational Film Library Association (1976). "Motion pictures in education". Sightlines. 10–11: 62.
  6. ^ Animation: A World History: Volume II: The Birth of a Style - The Three Markets
  7. ^ Evans, Gary (30 September 1991). In the National Interest: A Chronicle of the National Film Board of Canada from 1949 to 1989. University of Toronto Press. p. 232. ISBN 978-0802068330. Retrieved 19 March 2012. The Sand Castle Co Hoedeman.
  8. ^ "De Zandtovenaar".

External links[edit]