“Spider-Man 3: Birth of Sandman” by Sony Pictures Imageworks

  • ©  Sony Pictures Imageworks



    Spider-Man 3: Birth of Sandman

Company / Institution / Agency:

  • Sony Pictures Imageworks


    Columbia Pictures’ “Spider-Man 3” reunites the cast and filmmakers from the first two blockbuster adventures for a web of vengeance, love, and forgiveness.

    In the “Birth of Sandman” sequence, visual effects supervisor Scott Stokdyk, animation director Spencer Cook, and the team at Sony Pic-tures Imageworks show the creation of the Sandman villain. Starting with the movement of individual grains, the first 2,672-frame shot takes us through the gathering of sand to form a sand creature. The next 10 shots show Sandman’s struggle and emotional realization of his transformation. In the end, Sandman summons strength from a locket containing a picture of his daughter to compose himself back into human form.

    Led by digital effects supervisor Ken Hahn, CG supervisor Bob Winter, sand-effects supervisor Doug Bloom, and software engineer Jonathan Cohen, Imageworks spent more than 10 man-years developing new tools and software to control particle systems for Sandman’s emotional character and effects performance, involving individual manipulation of millions of grains of sand.

    Several different approaches to sand animation were taken, including: keyframe animation, physical simulation of individual sand grains col-lapsing and piling, erosion models for dynamic surfaces, and creating large-scale rigid-body-dynamics simulations of close-up sand grains.


    Multiple systems including Dell, IBM, HP, Apple, and others Rendering farm: Thousands of CPUs


    Modeling, animation, rendering, dynamics, and compositing:
    a variety of off-the-shelf software, internally developed facility tools, and custom tools developed specifically for the show
    Custom software: 3D rendering, data management tools, improved in-house hair pipeline, improved cloth simulation
    OS: various

Additional Contributors:

    Contributors: Sony Pictures Imageworks

    Visual Effects Supervisor: Scott Stokdyk

    Visual Effects Producer: Josh R. Jaggars

    Digital Effects Supervisor: Kee-Suk Ken Hahn

    Animation Supervisor: Spencer Cook

    Digital Effects Producers: Christian Hejnal, Carey A. Smith

    CG Supervisor: Robert Winter

    Sand Effects Supervisor: Douglas Bloom

    FX R &D Lead: Jonathan Cohen

Animation / Video Overview: