London-based animation studio Loose Moose has recently completed work on a 30-second stop-motion spot for Oscar Mayer Lunchables. Titled Make Your Own Fun, the commercial combines stop-motion animation and CGI to portray a young boy, Dillon, and his dog, Bumpy, who unintentionally wreak havoc in their quest to invent things. The spot used puppets and sets made by Artem Models and Effects. Loose Moose used Maya to create the high-speed look of the hall corridor. Other effects done by Loose Moose included hundreds of thousands of CGI sprinkles that get jet-fanned onto a brownie.
Animation and visual effects house Celluloid Studios has recently completed a series of 30-second Bubble Boys spots for Budweiser. The four commercials, The Agent, Agent Phil, Holdouts and Negotiator, are the latest in an ongoing series of Budweiser commercials done by the company, and continue the narrative of two mechanical, tabletop hockey players, Murph and La Rue. The humorous ads again focus on their pursuit of being as famous as hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.
Creative design boutique EyeballNYC has teamed with Showtime Networks recently launched ShoNext digital cable channel to produce the 12-episode TV/Web series DISC JOCKEY, an innovative, mixed-media exploration of emerging American DJs. Each two-minute segment combines a documentary-style DJ interview with an animated superhero sequence. Music downloads, DJ tour schedules and other material are available on the Website. "Showtime was very clear in its creative direction," said EyeballNYC director Alex Moulton, who is also a DJ.
Digital studio Spontaneous Combustion has created the title design and end logo animation for a pool of 30-second spots, with 15-second lifts, for T.J. MAXXs Maxximum Stories campaign, which rolled out nationwide on March 18, 2001. The ads, tagged You should go, show women talking about why they love T.J. MAXX. According to design director Dana Yee, "Because the tag is You should go, we wanted to parlay a sense of motion with the typography.
Creating what is arguably both the biggest project and greatest success in its eight years of operation, New York's The Diecks Group recently delivered a complete redesign of Discovery Kids Network, a three-hour block of programming aired on weekends on the Discovery Channel. Creative director Brian Diecks and The Diecks Group team were the exclusive creators of 122 on-air design elements, including block opens, next-ons, bumpers, interstitials and promo elements. The project required extensive live-action, 3D animation, effects compositing and 2D graphics.
San Franciscos Wild Brain, Inc. has announced their work on the animated open, close and lifts for Cartoon Network's new weekly series, THE CHUCK JONES SHOW, which premiered on the cable network this past April 8, 2001. In the 30-second open, Wile E. Coyote zooms around on an Acme rocket, interacting with old Chuck Jones characters such as the Road Runner, Michigan J. Frog, Duck Dodgers, Marvin the Martian and Bugs Bunny. The characters eventually fall onto a stage and surround an animated, framed picture of Chuck Jones. As Wile E.
Creative boutique EyeballNYC has completed work on a 15-second spot for allergy medication Zyrtek, sponsor of SESAME STREET, which broadcasts on PBS. Combining 3D green text animation and live-action, the company used everyday sounds to spell out Zyrtek (pronounced zur-tek) phonetically. A tent zipper, an electric mixer and a lawn mower together create the first syllable of the product name, while a skipping record, a game of checkers and a stick against a picket fence creates the second. An accompanying monochrome image and green 3D text animation reinforces each sound.
Computer graphics house Island Fever Productions has completed two new commercials for Orkin's "fake-out" campaign. In this year's campaign, which like last years shows a pesky cockroach interrupting the viewing of two fake commercials, Island Fever Productions created the animation of the cockroach, all the additional animation and the final compositing for both commercials. The first faux commercial is for "Timmy Townsend P.I." in which Gary Coleman stars as a bumbling private eye. Island Fever created the CG logo treatment of flying streaking letters.
New York animation studio Black Logic has completed two 30 second commercials for Coldwell Banker. The first spot, titled "Concierge," shows a disembodied head of a beleaguered home buyer orbited by a series of objects representing the many headaches of the house hunting process. Directed by Black Logic's Michel Suissa, the spot uses colorful, high-energy graphics, propelled by a peppy musical score, to highlight an exclusive Coldwell Banker online service that assists people in managing the details involved in buying and selling residential real-estate.
Colorado animation studio Celluloid has just completed work on two public service announcements for Earth Share, a federation of America's leading non-profit environmental and conservation organizations. Working with advertising agency Foote, Cone and Belding, director James Wahlberg and live-action production company Visitor, Celluloid, led by executive producer Jan Johnson and director Paniagiotis Rappas, provided the animation on both sixty-second spots. The first, titled "This Is," is based on a series of 30 paintings by designer Alan Brewer.
Uli Meyer Animation has just delivered the second in a series of computer animated commercials featuring Okto the Octopus for Kellogg's Variety Packs. In the new 30-second spot, titled "Find The Variety," Okto and Okto's friends, Sandra the Swordfish, The Crab and The Starfish make return appearances, while an electric eel debuts as an improvised aerial for the radio that provides the soundtrack for the commercial. In the spot, Okto plays the "shell game" in the galley of an underwater shipwreck, trying to find his favorite cereal among the eight varieties in the Kellogg's Variety Pack.
Creative firm ViewPoint Studios announced the completion of The Ultimate Gamer promotional spots for the upcoming Discovery Science Channel videogame information television series THE ELECTRIC PLAYGROUND. Using a combination of CGI, live-action and visual effects compositing, ViewPoint created the Ultimate Gamer with a jet pack, VR helmet, rocket skates, gamer attitude, humor and dynamic visuals in order to convey THE ELECTRIC PLAYGROUND as the place for video game enthusiasts to get needed secret skills and codes to conquer the electronic world.
New Yorks Cyclotron has completed work on a new 30 second commercial for Visa, which debuted during the March, 2001 Daytona 500, and will continue to air throughout the current NASCAR season. The spot, titled Nature, opens with a father answering his young son's questions about the local flora and fauna. They watch a moth delicately alight from a dandelion, only to be splattered over the windshield of a racing car. The tranquility shattered, the shot widens to reveal the pair standing in the infield of the Daytona International Speedway.
Digital animation company Mixin Pixls has finished work on the 'Volcanologists' spot for the new Chevy S-10 crew cab 4x4 pickup. Mixin Pixls joined with Crew Cuts editor Bob Jenkis, Flying Tiger Films' director Robert Gordon and advertising agency Campbell-Ewald's creative team of John Haggerty, Steve Bolt and Matt Fera to produce the commercial. The spot introduces viewers to the hazards of a day-in-the-life of a group of volcanologists who are studying the activity of a nearby volcano. The volcano erupts and places the volcanologists in harm's way.
Animation production house Renegade Animation has designed and produced the main title sequence for TOMCATS, the new feature film from Revolution Studios. The 2-minute title sequence is fully cel-animated and features a cat and dog in pursuit of a buxom woman who blows them away -- literally. Darrell Van Citters directed the title sequence for Renegade Animation. Ashley Postlewaite was executive producer. TOMCATS, written and directed by Gregory Poirier, is the first release from Revolution Studios since its founding last year by producer Joe Roth.
Santa Monica, California's SimEx Digital Studios has completed work on a new 30-second Kellogg's Frosted Flakes commercial. The artists at SimEx provided 2D animation, compositing and editing for the new Kellogg's spot, called "High Dive," starring Tony the Tiger. Director Jean Perramon's team created Tony in the famous "Tex Avery-style." The commercial revisits classic 1940s style animation while using snappy cuts to keep it fresh.
Santa Monica, California's R!OT, a creative digital studio, recently provided design, animation and visual effects services for a new campaign for Walgreens and Chicago agency Euro RSCG Tatham. Co-directed by R!OT's Carl Seibert and Plum Productions' Dana Christiaansen, the commercials promote Walgreens' Website, www.walgreens.com. In "Signs," the camera pulls from a tight shot of a woman working at a computer into an exterior of her home with a Walgreens sign hanging above her window.
London-based Realise Studio has just completed a new commercial for the Royal Mail. Directed by Jon Hollis of 400 films, this special effects laden commercial is a departure from the Royal Mails current quirky campaign. The commercial features a series of transitions from a view of the world from space, to a guy sitting on his sofa in London reading a letter. Each start image is made up of 40,000 others. At a distance the thousands of images combine visually to make up the larger, composite one. As the camera zooms closer the composite one breaks apart.
Mixin Pixls has created visual effects for the Hyundai spot "Ice City," which launches the new EF Sonata for Korea. The commercial has a lone car entering an icy metropolis, which begins to melt the snow and bring life to the city. "To create the desired look, two production options were discussed," said Mixin Pixls' executive producer Dan Filice. "One was to shoot a miniature set and composite the necessary images. The second was to create the 'city' via computer animation.
Red Sky's Boston office (formerly Olive Jar Studios, Inc.) has wrapped on the new integrated television campaign for Chili's Grill & Bar. Chili's and the Austin, Texas ad agency GSD&M developed the creative concept for 30-second "Butterfly." The spot begins at sunrise when a chili pepper character, hanging from a tree and back lit by a morning sky, appears to pulse or "breathe" deeply. As the day draws on, the chili pepper metamorphoses into a mushroom, sprouts wings and flies away to land atop a sizzling fajita.
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.