This short, coloured, demonstration film shows the formation of liquid crystals. The liquid crystal state is a distinct phase of matter observed between the crystalline (solid) and isotropic (liquid) states. A liquid crystal may flow like a liquid, but its molecules may be oriented in a crystal-like way. There are many different types of liquid-crystal phases, which can be distinguished by their different optical properties (such as birefringence). When viewed under a microscope using a polarized light source, different liquid crystal phases will appear to have distinct textures. The contrasting areas in the textures correspond to domains where the liquid-crystal molecules are oriented in different directions.