Can you imagine water droplets creating a moving picture?

Gatorade the Premium ‘active water’ brand in bottles created a mind boggling TV commercial using a ‘liquid printer’ and precision-timed strobe photography to create a stop-motion athlete from drops of water.

In simple terms, over the course of 6 months they developed a stop-motion 3d liquid printer that took motioncapture data of a human and printed it life size frame by frame. The 3D liquid prints frames were captured using high speed sync flash. In 5 shoot days and 11 days in the studio a life-sized animated human was created, entirely from liquid that moves and interacts with physical space like a real human.

The video starts off with a human figure being pumped out of a water printer. Okay, that’s pretty cool, but water printers are nothing new. But then the figure jogs over to a box and starts doing box jumps, with water splashing as its feet hit the box.

The figure stands and starts kicking a punching bag, which recoils with each strike. What is incredible is that the entire thing was created in-camera.

The water printer itself comprises over 20,000 parts, and took over 5,000 man hours to construct. The printer they built had 2,048 individual nozzles, which turned on and off within 2 milliseconds. The strobes were then set to freeze the droplets mid-air.

James Medcraft, the project’s director of photography explains:

We’re using the flash to freeze the water droplets at a very precise moment in space, and we’re having to do that with millimetre and microsecond accuracy.

To create the motion, the nozzles were driven by motion capture data of a real athlete who ran, jumped, and kicked while wearing sensors. The water rig would then drop a frame-by-frame animation, which was frozen with each flash.

Gatorade built this technology from scratch just for an advertisement. 2,500 switches turn the water on and off, and motion capture tells it what to do. The results are incredible for you to see.

Gatorade has shared a behind the scenes video which you can watch below

Courtesy: PetaPixel , Vimeo

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