There's probably at least 10 ways to generate a fun splash coming from behind a disc-shaped logo, and I think we've done this kind of element at least 5 different ways. But Mark always wants to try a new and better approach, so for the Food Network summer logo treatment - "Summer Here", he set out on a new path. On this project we worked with ColourMovie, who did a fantastic job putting the package together for the network.
The key to these kinds of elements is that they have to be super duper art-directable, because if there's one thing network execs want to do, it's direct! On top of that, network branding requires a toolset of graphics, all themed but a little different -- so you have to be able to quickly generate an original, but thematically similar element for all the different scenarios for which the graphics will be used.
For this one, we built a little source rig of water shooting from a ring just behind the logo, and packed the margins of the ring with a big array of bounded noise fields. The swarm of noise fields were controlled with scripts so we could easily alter the random variations -- things like the noise strength, size of the fields, and their motion during the splash. This to get just the right amount of splashy turbulence, to fling the droplets and make them almost feel like they are dancing in mid-air.
Then for the water itself, we used our proprietary Smorganic that prevents fluid from breaking apart, but added in a few controls so we could control the falloff with time (allowing the fluid to break apart into droplets just when we wanted). In this case we built in a control to have different levels of smorganic on different sizes of droplets, so we could control the "structure" of the splash. Nice splashes never have all the same sizes of droplets, they always have a range of sizes and that makes them feel natural.
Finally, we created a custom way of killing off the fluid, based on the droplet sizes, so we could dissipate it all in a really natural way, with precise timing as directed by our friends at ColourMovie.
Sounds like a lot of work right? Well really it was just bringing together code from a bunch of other previous projects, and adapting it a bit for this purpose. Mark likes to build new tools! And, wouldn't you know it, a week after this project finished, another one came to us needing an amazingly similar element. SCORE. Mark: "And that's why we build tools." BAM.