This new art form with sand has been used by artists across the world to narrate history of their nation and depict the chronology of landmark moments that brought about change.

A new medium to hone creativity uses the most commonly available material - sand. Sand animation as an art form has caught the imagination of audiences worldwide.

A line transforms into a bird or a tiger. See a butterfly morphing into an animal, as you run your fingers through soft sands over a glass topped table. The resultant figures are projected on a large screen for all to see.

Sand animation artists create a series of animated works on a glass surface in a jiffy using sand dust. This live animation with sand has been used across the world by artists to narrate history of their nation and depict the chronology of landmark moments that brought change.

Works of artists such as Iliana Yahav, Ferenc Cako, Caroline Leaf and Kseniya Simonova offer insight into the scope of this vibrant art form on YouTube.

Many films have been made using sand animation. Cako's work for 2003 Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival is lauded the world over.

Sudarsan Pattnaik, the international sand artist from Orissa, has taken to sand animation in a big way. His works include the one for Commonwealth Games in Delhi, in 2010, where he came up with a series of motifs - from Dandi March to festivals of India within a few seconds, the music score arranged by A.R. Rehman.

Edutainment too

“Sand animation can be used for education or as an art form. This is a new medium. Though you cannot show it in a gallery like a painting, you can create many stories and themes in real time. I came across sand animation during my travel abroad to participate in sand art shows,” he says.

His sand art institute in Puri conducts sand animation workshops for children.

Sand animation is easy to do. All you need is an table, glass, light and a digital camera, says filmmaker P.G. Vinda. He chose sand animation as part of his popular film “The Lotus Pond”, screened at the 17th International Children's Film Festival, 2011.

In this film about the adventures of a boy studying in a residential school, the teacher of the school in the hill station, selects sand animation for a storytelling session for children and the sequence forms the core of the film.

“We used soft sand with talcum powder. A colour filter was placed below the glass to make our sand/light box. One can come up with amazing live animation works with sand. The technique can be used much like a black board,” says Vinda.

So, how about watching the alphabet series morph from A to Z?