REZN8, a design and animation production house, developed part of the opening sequence for the 73rd Annual Academy Awards telecast Sunday, March 25, 2001. REZN8 designed and created the special video segment that introduced Oscar host Steve Martin. Traveling through deep space, viewers were treated to animated radio signals and past Academy Award moments composited by the REZN8 graphics team over film footage. The opening culminates in a 3D NASA space station, modeled and animated by REZN8.
Vancouver-based Natterjack recently wrapped on three spots for the "Got milk?" campaign, featuring the Powerpuff Girls. "We were asked to create concentrated mini-episodes," said Steve Evangelatos, Natterjack's director, "with the girls battling their familiar foes: Mojo Jojo, Fuzzy Lumpkins and the Gangrene Gang." Each spot features a different girl to promote chocolate, banana and strawberry flavored milks. In all three spots, the villains unexpectedly threaten the supply of milk, until one of the girls saves the day. "When you see the ads, don't blink!
iXL Digital Video Group provided visual effects for Tide's new "Angel" commercial. In the spot, a woman in a white ski suit makes snow angels, however she reaches the ground below getting dirt all over her clothes. The dirt in the live-action footage was not prominent enough, so senior visual effects artist Doug Dimon was assigned to "bring out the dirt," in addition to multiplying the angel mark five times for the final scene. "While the finished spot appears natural, we did a lot digitally to enhance the dirt," said Dimon, who sampled dirt from several plates in flame*.
Curious Pictures has wrapped on a new CGI spot for Lugz athletic shoes entitled "Pirate Radio." In the 30-second commercial, after the Lugz's Blue Man subverts the city power, the hero must avoid the electric company's thugs in order to run a pirate radio station for rooftop parties across the city. "In the Lugz spot, we created characters with a lot of personality surrounded by computer-animated environments that are rich and beautiful," said Chel White, Curious Pictures' director.
Mixin Pixls has completed the transitions and visual effects for a new Acura spot entitled "Navigation." In the spot, animated dots guide a path through various terrains demonstrating the Acura's new navigation system. Mixin Pixls' CG animators Harri Paakkonen assisted by Brian Obee, used Maya Live to track natural artifacts in the landscape (rocks, trees, soil and so on) to create the needed effect. Mixin Pixls used Henry to create the look of the spots being painted on the ground. The spot was produced for advertising agency Rubin Postaer & Associates.
Chicago-based SOMERsault has recently completed a 30-second spot for Busch Gardens/Sea World. In the spot, the word "fun" is spelled out in a zebra's stripes and a group of dolphins swim into place to spell out the word "card." Using inferno*, SOMERsaults senior effects artist, John Montgomery duplicated footage of two dolphins into twelve dolphins, then rotated, warped and animated the dolphins into position. Additional shading and water effects were added to smooth out the appearance.
iXL Digital Video Group has finished the head turning visual effects for a set of Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Pizza spots, featuring the comedian/magician duo, Penn and Teller. In the 30-second "Head Turn," Teller turns his head around 360 degrees. During the live-action shoot, Teller mimed turning his head and then iXL rotoscoped Teller's hands in order to remove his actual head and replace it with a backwards one.
Quiet Man has mailed home a new spot for the nonprofit World Wildlife Fund. The 60-second spot opens with a panda walking across the screen and a large contribution envelop falling to the ground. As "Shelter from the Storm" plays in the background, the panda takes cover inside the envelope. "The bear was not intended to be photo-realistic," Quiet Man 3D animator Dave Shirk explained. "It had to be artwork but the character still must generate empathy. No matter what the look, if the performance doesn't ring true, I have failed as an animator.
Creative design boutique EyeballNYC has produced two 30-second promotional spots for the Bravo Networks' Independent Spirit Awards 2001 coverage. Inspired by the Independent Film Channel's Spirit 2001 poster, Eyeball used a syncopated hot pink, orange and purple photo-box grid effect. In "Sweepstakes" and "Tune-In," hot-colored cubic boxes flip, slide and pop into view to reveal details of the Spirit Awards program, which will air March 25, 2001. In addition, EyeballNYC handled the on-air package for the Spirit Awards, including the design of the show's opening and graphic packaging.
Black Logic was worked into the mix for a new musical two-spot campaign for Twix. In "Remote Control," two skateboarders flip channels on the TV moving from teen pop band Dream to polka performers then finally to rapper Lil' Bow Wow. The backgrounds are elaborately animated scenes of caramel, chocolate and cookie. "Our task was to integrate live-action and tabletop footage with our CG elements into a seamless world," said lead visual effects artist Patrick Ferguson.
Wild Brain has finished spots for Jolly Ranchers new gel snack product, "Fruitensity." The 15 and 30-second ads were directed by Wild Brains Julia Tortolani and conceptualized by ad agency Euro RSCG Tatham. "Fruitensity" features bold colors and a combination of live-action and photo-collage. Tortolanis collage art animation was created using a mix of still photography, full-motion film and a broad array of digital tools including Maya, Photoshop and After Effects.
Ring of Fire teamed with entertainment branding company 3 Ring Circus to create the new ID package for the on-air and online network, TechTV. The visually striking package includes a series of four 30-second spots that display technology as a lifestyle benefit. "Connect," "Communicate," "Convenience" and "Community" are fast-paced spots, comprised of a primary red, white, blue and black color palette. "The TechTV project was particularly challenging because of the visual interpretation of 'Connectivity,'" states Elaine Cantwell, head of creative services for 3 Ring Circus.
iXL Digital Video has wrapped on a new spot for Tiger Electronic's robot dog, I-Cybie. In the 30-second commercial, i-Cybie appears before a futuristic backdrop of swirling colors, and as the camera rotates, the robot performs tricks. "The titles had to look flashy but not appear too frenetic, nor could they distract from i-Cybie," explains Doug Dimon, senior visual effects artist at iXL Digital Video Group. "I decided to use a short blast with a slow fade technique, throwing titles up very quickly with laser-like effect, then letting them drift away.
Black Logic scratched and won for its new 30-second spot for the New York Lottery. In the spot, scratching an old jalopy turns it into a new sports car, a dribbling sprinkler becomes an ornate fountain, a small abode turns into a giant palace and a loveable dog gets instantly groomed. "The spot presented a double challenge, since two environments had to register accurately and yet be noticeably different so we could see the changes through the scratching," said director Michel Suissa.
Motion Theory designed, animated and finished three 30-second TV spots for Suzuki motorcycles, ATVs and street bikes. Creative director Mathew Cullen described the style of the spots as reminiscent of "vintage boxing posters." In the commercials, the use of animated stills of the vehicles make posters seem like they come to life. Once the footage was color timed the final compositing and onlining was done by Motion Theory.
Bugshop, a New York motion graphics and effects shop, has completed four spots for the Animal Planet imaging campaign, "Life is Better with Animals." Ross Shain, creative director at Bugshop, served as visual effect supervisor, compositor and designer. He completed seven composite shots and designed the endtags, which involved compositing exotic animals such as a mountain ram, mandrill and alligator on green screen to hide then reveal the Animal Planet logo and tagline stamped into the background.
Black Logic has wrapped on a new five spot campaign for the Nasdaq Stock Exchange: "Qualcomm" uses the modem port on a laptop computer as the entrance to a visual world of digital communications; "Immunex" uses transparent CG human forms and brightly colored double helixes to introduce the world of advanced immunology; "Amazon" portrays that company's familiar Website interface to show how it created online commerce; "Biogen" opens with a group photo of the scientists who broke the human genetic code; and "Yahoo" develops the company's groundbreaking search engines, as a road map through a maz
PDI/DreamWorks has completed production on three new commercials for Monster.com, MSN and Target. PDI/DreamWorks brought Monster.com's green mascot, Trump, to life, working with renowned advertising agency Arnold Communications and live-action director Kinka Usher, on the humor spots which debuted during the Super Bowl. The PDI/DreamWorks team, led by director Larry Bafia, created the monster spokesperson for all five spots' endtags.
Cuppa Coffee has created four spots for Lifetime Televisions Valentines contest "Romanced Across America Sweepstakes." Incorporating stop-motion animation and digital compositing, co-directors Warren Brown and Hector Herrera designed four different "panels" to illustrate the journey that Lifetime is sending their lucky winners on. These panels for Santa Fe, Vermont, Florida and Washington are comprised of photographs, moving illustrations and stop-motion props that were shot under camera and then digitally collaged into frame.
The Discovery Channel Networks enlisted the talents of ViewPoint Studios to develop a promotional package for their Wings and Civilization Channels. ViewPoint filmed the live-action footage of a mock air battle on location in Laage, Germany. Avid editorial transformed the footage into dramatic sequences and then turned it over to the design and Flame teams. The main title and supporting text elements were developed along with further enhancements of color treatments and lighting effects.
Spontaneous Combustion helped bite off the heads of Pepperidge Farms' Goldfish for a new ad campaign. Filmed by New York-based Chelsea Pictures, the campaign consists of one 30-second, a 20-second with a 10-second endtag, and a 15-second ad. The spot begins with CG goldfish swimming and diving through a page of sheet music. As the fish start to swim throughout the room, live-action footage of kids and mothers munching on goldfish fill the scene.
Rhinoceros Visual Effects & Design has brightened up six 15-second spots introducing Colgate Total Whitening toothpaste. "Hearts" shows a toothpaste tube floating in a red space until heart-shaped balloons peel away from the background and float skyward revealing the new package in a stunning white environment. "Brightness" opens with the tube on the same red background, when a brightness adjustment bar pops up, goes haywire and turns the background again to white. These first two spots launched in the beginning of February with the others set to roll out in the upcoming months.
With Chuck Gammage Animation handling the traditional animation and TOPIX/Mad Dog taking on the 3D, a new spot for Kellogg's Island Adventure campaign in the U.K. has Uder the Cow bringing excitement to breakfast. The spot introduces Kellogg's new Corn Flakes Cereal and Chocolate Milk Bars. In the 2D spot, Uder armed with a chocolate milk gun takes aim at boxes of Corn Flakes falling from the sky, turning them into Corn Flakes Cereal and Chocolate Milk Bars. Director Chuck Gammage oversaw the production of the entire spot.
ILM created the new Super Bowl spot for Budweiser that has aliens saying, "Whassup!" The spot opens with a dog walking into a country field and is then beamed up into an alien spacecraft. After the head alien asks the dog what he has learned on Earth, the dog unzips and out pops an alien who yells, "Whassup!" The animation was done using Softimage with facial and lip-synchs done with ILM's in-house software Caricature. Modeling was done in Maya and Alias|Wavefront, with rendering handled in RenderMan and compositing in ILM's in-house software CompTime.
SimEx Digital Studios has wrapped on a new Kellogg's Froot Loop spot, which launches Toucan Sam and his mischievous nephews into space. SimEx provided 2D and 3D animation, compositing, editing, as well as live-action shots for the 30-second commercial. "Rocket" has Toucan Sam and his three nephews propelling themselves into space in a primitive looking rocket. Shane Zalvin, Roberto Casale and Holger Leihe created the cel animation, with help from cel assistant directors Charlotte DeBlock and Ingin Kim. Digital ink and paint was completed at SimEx using the Toonz system.