While real life twisters were rolling across the mid-west of the U.S. this spring, visual effects company Colorado FX in Santa Monica, California created its own mighty CG tornado with multiple composit elements for director Bob Newcomb of Boulevard Films and the client Husqvarna.
Clio Award-winning A52 recently completed VFX work on Goodby, Silverstein & Partners/San Francisco's Goodyear broadcast campaign. The campaign's first :30 spots - one entitled BALLS and a second entitled SCREW continue airing nationwide, and a third spot will debut soon.
This campaign for Biscuit Filmworks and director Noam Murro features dramatic scenarios in which harmless, mundane objects become threatening... thereby revealing the advanced safety features of Goodyear's products.
RadioShack's Broadcast Communications division has been using MotionStar Wireless from Ascension Technology in the production of three 60-second spots for Shack TV. The motion capture system (used in JAY JAY THE JET PLANE and STARSHIP TROOPERS) allows animations to be mixed with live-action scenes featuring Battery Man and Charge Boy, two informational characters that help customers find the right accessories for their RadioShack products. The spots are shot on 35mm film and produced in-house at the Broadcast Communications Center. They are used internally and by agency clients and corporations nationwide.
The decision to go with MotionStar was based on the system's capabilities and onsite training, according to Ed Delaney, senior director of broadcast. "After looking into other systems with software interface and what the motion picture industry was using, it was a clear choice to go with MotionStar. Also, the support from Ascension, with onsite training, allowed us to produce a spot to see how it worked. That was a great selling point." Delaney adds that the MotionStar system is now "another great tool" for the talented animators at the Circle R Group.
Vee Pee Cartoons, the broadcast design and animation division of Virtual Persuasion, turned out 75 :30 spots for Nicktoons "Summer Beach House," which airs Monday-Friday in four-hour blocks beginning at 2:00 pm through Labor Day. The weekly lineup of animated hits features daily marathons dedicated to SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS, RUGRATS, HEY ARNOLD! and ROCKET POWER. Vee Pee also produced a :10 tune-in and a 1:00 intro that heads up each afternoons marathon block.
Sterrett Dymond Stewart Advertising in Charlotte, North Carolina chose Buzzco Associates, Inc. to create a :30 spot for AnMed Health Care state-of-the-art heart health care facility. The spot needed to be a springboard from the print and billboard ads featuring a man carrying a big heart balanced precariously over giant lettering saying "Don't Trust Your Heart to Anyone Else." Co-creative director Lee Stewart said he knew that Candy Kugel and Vincent Caferelli were the folks to translate illustrator Paul Zwolak's painterly design into animation.
Bringing a theatrical quality to a slate of USA Network movie premiere trailers, Broadway Video's DesignLab has finished its animated work for the channel's rollout of eight movies.
San Francisco-based Phoenix Editorial has completed editorial and effects on the first two spots in a new campaign promoting Yahoo!'s revamped search engine. Each spot is linked by the idea that the new search application is so habit-forming, people literally carry it with them wherever they go. Five-foot long Yahoo! search bars, with flashing cursors and personalized queries, play a prominent role in the spots. The 30-second spot SUBWAY and the 60-second ANTHEM were completed by Black Rocket, San Francisco, with Smuggler's David Frankham directing.
Vee Pee Cartoons, the broadcast design and animation division of Virtual Persuasion, recently completed production on MAD CAPS, a series of 60-second educational interstitials for Nick Jr. The spots will be featured as part of Nick Jrs. fall 2003 line-up and introduce the 3D animated characters Rip, Rap and Rippity Doo. The lively animated shorts employ a hip-hop attitude to teach pre-school kids about colors, shapes and sounds. The interstitials feature the voices of Eastern Conference Records rap artists Mr. E-On, Tame One and The Dutchess performing to hip-hop rhymes written by Nick producers Greg Alkalay and Lisa Versaci along with writer Samantha Berger.
The characters were based on designs by Nickelodeons Manny Galan. "Originally Mannys designs called for 2D characters," according to Vee Pees director of animation, John Siciliano. "But once we did a test of them in 3D, everybody preferred them in that format. We modeled all the characters with Newteks LightWave 7.5. Then we combined the character animation with 2D graphic elements and text in Adobe After Effects to create some really eye-catching spots. The hip hop music and the animation really move together nicely." Vee Pee is located in Fairfield, Connecticut. For information call (203) 332-0184 or check out www.veepee.biz.
Teaming with Backyard Prods. and ad agency TBWAChiatDay, Happy Hour Entertainment has completed two 30-second animated TV spots for Sony Computer Entertainment America's WAR OF THE MONSTERS PlayStation 2 video game. The spots, which are titled BARRACKS and DRIVE IN, depict CG monster characters interacting with live-action characters.
In BARRACKS, an oversized Cyclops cowers and stands at attention while being harassed by a drill sergeant. DRIVE IN, meanwhile, features a loud-mouthed, wisecracking monster interrupting a drive-in movie for two young lovers.
Bent Image Lab has just finished production on the first Reese's Pieces ad in more than two decades for Hershey's and agency partner DDB New York. For the CENTER OF ATTENTION CAMPAIGN, it was Bent Image's job to bring to life an action-packed world where the center of the frame always contains a Reese's Pieces candy as the focal point. The style has been done in live action before where camera harnesses lock the person attached to camera in the center of the frame like in REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, but this is the first time it's been done in mixed-media or 3D stop-motion animation.
Vancouver-based Mainframe Entertainment has produced the logo, branding, and original animation segments for this year's superhero-themed MTV Movie Awards. The work includes category introductions, as well as opening and closing segments for the awards show, which will air June 5, 2003. Typically, using a live-action/design combination for the awards gala, this year MTV decided to go with a custom CGI animated approach in response to the growing number of superhero-inspired films. Promotional spots for the awards also feature animation.
New York-based Click 3x recently finished up production on a spot promoting Food Network's "Dine In Dine Out Sweepstakes." The idea for the 30-second spot germinated with the cable net's in-house creative staff, after which Click 3x's Creative Director Iain Greenway and his compatriots were enlisted to design the visuals and produce the ad. The commercial interjects Food Network personalities into a stylized 3D kitchen and/or restaurant setting. The visual concept is reminiscent of architectural blueprints, featuring objects rendered in stroked outlines.
Perception has created an intense new promo for ESPN Classic's celebration of The New York Yankees 100th anniversary that involved a huge amount of digital compositing, 2D graphics and organic texture creations. Perception was challenged by ESPN Classic to create a promo that would encapsulate the Yankee legacy in just 30 seconds and grab viewers' attention with arresting visual effects and graphic design.
Riverstreet Productions, a leader in creative television production, and Blur Studio, the Santa Monica, California-based computer animation and visual effects studio, have teamed up again to develop an image campaign for the Kids' WB! 2002-2003 season. For the fifth consecutive year, Kids' WB! tapped Riverstreet Productions to develop the network's branding and ID campaign. The ongoing creative collaboration between Kids' WB! and Riverstreet Productions has earned the companies 14 Promax Awards, including four Gold Muses and one Promax World Class Award. Blur Studio is on board again for the fourth year incorporating its irreverent creativity through computer animation, visual effects and post-production to help win several of the awards.
Rolling~C~Productions of Toronto has completed SUMMER MORNING, the fifth spot in a series for Kraft Canada and its agency FCB Toronto. "The complexity of both composition and animation has evolved and got more elaborate in each spot since the initial concept three years ago," commented exec producer Michael Crabtree, "Creative/animation director Terry Godfrey continued this trend and really upd the amount of animation and brought in some very nice changes to the format and flow."
Uli Meyer Studios in the U.K. recently completed FRANKENRED, its eighth promo for the BSkyB Sky Active campaign featuring Lil Red. This latest spot features a new CGI character Uli who is Frankenreds little helper.
Set in the laboratory of Frankenreds castle, his mobile phone suddenly comes alive as Uli helps download polyphonic ring tones, top-ups and games. Uli receives some electric shocks during the downloads while Frankenred cackles, "My mobile, its alive!"
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO recently revealed a striking new show open and logo created by brand strategic entertainment salon jacobsrahi in collaboration with visual effects team Zoic Studios. Together they took real scenes of American life and transformed Leno and the people into murals on brickwalls with the texture and seams visible through the real life image of the TONIGHT SHOW host and everyday Americans.
Visual effects company Colorado FX completed three spots for ad agency Venables, Bell & Partners and client HBOs hit cable series SIX FEET UNDER. "Get to know the Fishers," features images and scenes in reference to individual characters of the show to promote the first season DVD and VHS releases for the series. The spots were directed by Bruce Dowad of Bruce Dowad Associates and edited by Avi and Israel Oron of Bikini Editorial.
Vee Pee Cartoons, the broadcast design and animation division of Virtual Persuasion located in Fairfield, Connecticut recently completed a series of "Quickie Nickies" interstitials for Nickelodeon. THE GREGORY AND PECK shorts feature a dim-witted bear, Gregory, and a wise-cracking rooster, Peck, airing in April as part of Nickelodeons Nick Toons line-up. These spots allow Nick to experiment with new and original characters, according to animation director John Siciliano.
Hong Kong-based animation studio STVDIO Media has produced an animated spot for Coca-Colas Slurpee "Brainfreeze" product in Singapore and its agency M&C Saatchi. DR. BRAINFREEZE'S LABORATORY features the creator of the ice-cold Slurpee drink, Dr. Brainfreeze, who loves his drink even though he has to go to great lengths to thaw out his head after each sip. He employs various gadgets such as hairdryer and a blowtorch-wielding robot to thaw out. The animators used a DEXTER'S LABORATORY inspired style for the mad doctor.
Uli Meyer Studios has completed BANKING, an animated spot featuring CGI characters Lil Red and an animated piggy bank called Floyd that promotes the interactive features of BSkyB's Digital Broadcasting, such as the ability to check your bank balance.
To cover a wider base and lessen potential clients' commutes, Space Division, a new creative editorial and design company has opened offices in Santa Ana and Santa Monica, California. Space Division provides creative editorial, design and finishing for commercials, music videos, feature film and television. Founded by former ARTiFACT principals Christopher Willoughby and Leah Welsh, the Space Division principals report there is a growing demand in Orange County for creative collaboration from local agencies, clients and post facilities.
Duck Soup has broken out of its traditional 2D shell into the world of 3D animation creating two live-action/CGI spots featuring the candy-coated M&Ms for BBDO and client Mars, Inc. Director Lane Nakamura and producer Sandra Oda, with their team, completed "Vending Machine" and "Movie Theater" in six weeks. "Vending Machine" features the red M&M nervously bracing himself inside a vending machine to keep from falling into the hands of a determined and very hungry young man.
PS Creative, based in Birmingham, England, has finished off a commercial spot and a sting (British broadcasting jargon for an interstitial or bumper in the U.S.) for its U.K. clients S4C and Drayton Manor. Welsh broadcaster S4C commissioned the company to produce a :10 animated sting. PS Creative director Nicola Scurlock used a handheld Super 8 to shoot nature footage he digitally combined using Adobe AfterAffects and Photoshop with a hand drawn animation overlay to create "Spectrum," which explores the delicate touches of nature, light and colors of spring.
Hollywood-based visual effects shop Eden FX just delivered a huge, three-minute long CG animation project for client Delphi Productions to appear on the Jumbotron screen at the Daytona Speedway during this weekend's Daytona 500 Event. The piece introduces the winner of Pontiac's Daytona 500 Pace Car Design Contest. It features five animated 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix pace cars (each bearing a paint job designed by one of the five contest finalists) racing from their high-tech factory across the U.S.