Giants Rising  -  Revealing the superpowers of Redwood trees

As animators, designers, and creators it’s always our hope to work on and be involved with projects that have meaning and are about subjects we deeply care about. To say we were inspired to work on Lisa Lander’s feature length documentary about Redwoods is an understatement. Little Fluffy Clouds studio is located on the doorstep of many of these majestic towering trees. They literally anchor us on top of our mountain ridge leading to the Pacific Ocean.

Giants Rising is a true tour de force, directed by Lisa Landers of Tangent Productions and narrated by singer-songwriter and musician, Michael Franti. The film reveals the biological wonders that enable these trees to live thousands of years and grow to be the tallest living species on earth all while being exposed to everything nature and humanity can throw at them. They emit a force that ripples through the valleys and communities that rely on them for their survival, but despite their size and strength, they’re also fighting for their own.

Perhaps you might think it’s easy to document a tree, after all it’s not like you’re filming an elusive wild cat on some hard-to-reach mountaintop. These majestic giants stand there year after year and seemingly to our eyes grow very, very slowly but that is so far from the truth and understanding their culture is not that easy. To begin with a large part of the tree is underground and the part above ground is so tall it’s impossible to see in its entirety. Another strange phenomenon is that it’s almost impossible to tell where one tree ends and another tree begins. Add to this their unique ability to communicate and collaborate. Redwoods even create their own weather patterns. Amazing yes, but this doesn’t even begin to explain the physical effect these trees have on your brain when you stand at their base and simply look up. Pure scientifically quantifiable awe!

Our task at Little Fluffy Clouds was to animate the sequences that were impossible to film. These are sequences created for the very first time to incorporate the most up to date theories that scientists have discovered over their many years of research.

To accurately design and animate these sequences we needed first to fully understand the science behind each theory before setting out to organize and translate the information into compelling animations, ones that would be easy for the audience to fully grasp in a single viewing.

We were careful to make sure that the animations didn't distract or take you away from the beauty of the trees and into some kind of motion graphic style of explanation. We didn't want to interupt the flow of the film but we did seek to add in a little visual magic.

Jerry van de Beek - Animation Director

I had always hoped to have animations in the film that accurately depicted the inner-workings of redwoods, but in a storybook style that evoked a sense of fantasy. Little Fluffy Clouds totally nailed it, using their incredible talents to turn my very rough ideas into stunning animations that captivate viewers of all ages and interests.

Lisa Landers - Director

Giants Rising has successfully started its festival tour. To learn more about the project and find out where you can find screenings of the film, please visit

Giants Rising | Storyboards for Water Transport | Video by Little Fluffy Clouds a Bay Area Animation Studio
Giants Rising | Wireframe 3D scene for Water Transport | Video by Little Fluffy Clouds a Bay Area Animation Studio
Wireframe 3D Scene
Giants Rising | Storyboards for Microbiome | Video by Little Fluffy Clouds a Bay Area Animation Studio
Airbus A3 Altiscope | Transformative Future for the Skies | Video by Little Fluffy Clouds a Bay Area Animation Studio
Film Trailer