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Blind Takes Talking Sloth to Costa Rica

Costa Rica is home to five percent of the world's biodiversity, two oceans, friendly locals, and… talking sloths? Yes, at least one talking sloth, a character production company Blind brings to life in three new videos that promote Costa Rica's Million Dollar Gift of Happiness campaign.

Press Release from Blind

NEW YORK, NY (October 17, 2011) - Costa Rica is home to five percent of the world's biodiversity, two oceans, friendly locals, and… talking sloths? Yes, at least one talking sloth, a character production company Blind brings to life in three new videos that promote Costa Rica's Million Dollar Gift of Happiness campaign.

Created in partnership with Atlanta-based advertising agency 22squared, the trio of Gift of Happiness spots features the laidback spokesanimal hanging in front of iconic Costa Rican scenes - rainforests, mountains, and stunning local architecture - and delivering happy-go-lucky encomiums to his native land in a relaxed, surfer dude-style voice.

"We won the pitch on one of our initial animation tests, which used sound bites of a laidback Owen Wilson," noted Tom Koh, creative director, Blind. "Our focus was to create an iconic figure embodying the character profile 22squared had developed, and our specially developed 2D and 3D approach brought us the style and production efficiency we were looking for."

After 22squared drafted scripts for the three videos and created a profile of the sloth's character, Blind conducted an extensive character design of the sloth, focusing on maximizing the body and facial performance. Once the sloth's look was agreed upon, Blind went to work with Cinema4D, After Effects and Photoshop using stock footage and photography to bring to life a unique 2D and 3D animation style. They used lip-syncing freeware applications Papagayo and LipSync to convert audio into corresponding phoneme images in After Effects.

At their studio, Blind shot the team's artists acting out the sloth's performances to provide a reference for the subtle body gestures and nuances throughout his dialogue. After a two- to three-week grind handling front-end character development and CG on the first spot, Blind cranked through the second and third spots in a week and a half each; a one-week edit perfected the comedic timing and tone they had worked toward from the beginning.

"We pride ourselves on finding creative solutions to pretty much any issue, and this project was no exception," stated Koh. "Of course, it helps to have a great creative partner like 22squared."

The first two spots debuted online on October 6.

Credits:

Client: The Costa Rica Tourism BoardCampaign: Costa Rica's Million Dollar Gift of HappinessSpot Titles: Different Places, IntroducingAir Date: October 2011

Agency: 22squaredChief Creative Officer: Scott SteinbergCreative Directors: John Stapleton, Curt MuellerCopywriters: Curt Mueller, Kevin Botfeld, Molly CrawfordArt Directors: John Stapleton, Stephen Bridges, Dustin TamilioStrategists: Brandon Murphy, Andrew Jones, Phil Heuring, Ashley Keetle, Christina BlanchardSocial Strategy: David Rollo, Christopher Tuff, Natalie EspinolProducers: Robert Berris, Connie Newberry, Jodi GodwinEditorial: Parker Davidson, Bryan Jameson

Production/Post Company: BlindCreative Director: Tom KohExecutive Producer: Dave KleinmanProducers: Keith Bryant, Jamey KitchensLead Animator: Michael Relth3D Animators: Wesley Kandel, Chris O'Neill, Markus Madlangbayan, Calvin Prieto2D Animator: Thomas HomeDesigners: Wesley Kandel, Gregg GunnEditor: Sean U'RenAbout Blind:Blind, a multi-disciplinary design, motion graphics, animation, visual effects, live-action, editorial, print and broadcast design studio with offices in Santa Monica and NYC, taps into diverse intellectual and creative resources to come up with compelling results. Since 1995, Blind has been pushing beyond the expected, offering clients a new way to see with award-winning design. A few things remain constant amidst this design/production powerhouse's constant drive to reinvent itself: the abilities to engender surprise and produce projects from conception to reality.

Blind's creative team has built an uncommon level of respect in the advertising and entertainment communities via cutting-edge campaigns for brands such as Xbox, Showtime, Bright House Networks, DirecTV, OppenheimerFunds, McDonald's, Scion, and recording artists including Gnarls Barkley, The Raveonettes and Justin Timberlake to name a few. In 2010, Blind took home a Creative Arts Emmy for their work on The Raveonette's Heart of Stone music video, as well as a Gold London International Award and a 2011 Creative Arts Emmy for the stunning Dr. Martens motion graphics piece, Lilac Wine.

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