Thanks to all for the kind words. In response to the comments/questions:
All the animation was done in Carrara, using mostly Poser type content. The “Depth of Field” effects were done in Carrara.
The smoke/explosion type effects were done with Particle Illusion, a 2D overlay type program that works with any still or video.
Some of the motion effects (“Ken Burns” effect) were done with the video editor, Magix’ “Movie Edit Pro MX”, which has some nice “After Effects” type features.
The idea of using the boy’s face before each segment did occur to me, but its kind of an evolving thing. The project started out as a 1 minute movie trailer type video, using a template from Magix that included the text transitions (plus music, snow,etc.) By the time I got done, I had dumped most of the template and ended up with a 2 minute video. But I wanted to get it out before Christmas and so ... I do agree the face transition is probably better than the text.
(Reminds me of songwriter Todd Snider’s story about writing a particular song. When he started it was about a certain event in his life. But after he got it all to rhyme, it wasn’t about that anymore.)
Again, thanks to all.