Water Sprites! - CODAworx

Client: The Westminster Schools

Location: Atlanta, GA, United States

Completion date: 2022

Project Team


Toni Boyd

The Westminster schools


Ace Barghi

BDR Partners

AV Integrator

Tommy LaRue

Stage Front

Built the LED video wall

Richard Hill

Digital Projection

Built the backend system for the video wall

Analog Way

Analog Way


Water Sprites – a unique data sculpture of human dance movement, part of a focus at Fusion CI Studios to combine data sculpture and visual effects methods to explore unique ways of viewing the natural world. Using motion-capture suits to record the movement data of three student dancers from The Westminster Schools, Atlanta, Fusion employed the data to drive water simulations. A unique, beautiful combination of art & science.
The water simulations inherit the shape and velocity of the dancers and therefore at any point in time, the water is a fully three-dimensional sculpture of both the dancer shapes, and their last 1-2 seconds of movement, all represented as an anamorphic illusion as though the dancers were set in a performance space.
The result is both an art piece honoring the talent and style of the dancers, and a true, dynamic data sculpture of human motion honoring the contribution of the performance arts to Westminster Schools.


The goals of the work were to first, create a performance arts component for a video library for the school, where each video piece represents a different aspect of this year's student body -- the video library is a form of legacy for this year's students. The second goal was to make a digital art piece which was not focused on the particular students involved, but instead artistically represent in general the performance arts at the school. Rather than a simple video of the dancers performing which would have us focus on their specific identities, it was decided to go farther, and represent them through recorded data of their motion, elevating their performance beyond any particular student. Representing the dancers as a data sculpture, the students become iconic symbols of dance, they become abstract spirits of performance arts, freed from their own particular identities.


For 6 months, starting with the selection of dancers, music and choreography, Fusion worked with the students to create this incredible, personal piece. Fusion recorded the movements of the dancers wearing motion-capture suits & these movements were digitally transferred to ‘rigged’ 3D characters, which were used as sources of digital water. Fusion designed custom force fields, driven by the dancer spatio-temporal velocity fields, to control the fluid dynamics.
The digital water was created in the form of the dancers & inherited velocity from the point of creation, and then was pulled along with the point of creation according to the ongoing velocity history.
The physics were designed so the dancer’s data stream controlled the overall shape & motion of the water.
The result is a water sculpture that mimics the form of the dancers, recording their ongoing movements. An arm sweep becomes a arc of water, a kick generates a spray of droplets with velocity components corresponding to the dancer’s recorded velocity data. The final piece, at 3000 frames length, 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution, is accompanied by the original dance music & set within a 3D, anamorphic set including a cascading waterfall from which the dancers emerge.