The Genius of Play

Working with Mash Studio, Tom Rainford focused his directorial talents on The Genius of Play, a 9-part animation series for for the Toy Industry Association. 

Each of the 9 short films created for the campaign uses a mix of 2D and stylized 3D animation to highlight positive traits that playtime can encourage. The setup works well as a framework for chuckle-worthy gags, too.

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For example, as a girl watches her tower of blocks come crashing to the ground, the word “Gravity” appears at the bottom of the screen. Undeterred, she picks up a block and begins building again as the word “Perseverance” appears.

Watching these vignettes in a masterclass in the power of restraint. Rainford has a knack for saying so much with so little, and his skills are on full display here. Just watching the elegant bobbing of bath toys in the last vignette is a surprisingly delightful, scrub-worthy experience.

For more about Tom Rainford, check out our Artist Profile.


Creative Direction: Mash Studio
Art Direction, Storyboarding, 3D Animation, Compositing: Tom Rainford

2D Animation:
Blocks – Robin Deller
Clay – Matthias Hoegg
Action Figures – Tom Rainford
Bike & Wagon – Tom Rainford
Dodgeball – Matthias Hoegg
Peek a Boo – Simon Bancroft
Lava – Matthias Hoegg
Water Fight – Julien Nantiec and Cyril Izarn
Bath Time – Tom Rainford

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About the author

Justin Cone

Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.