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Cyclotron And Visa Race To Daytona

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. Cyclotron created the moth, the roar and smoke of the Daytona International Speedway and other visual effects for the spot. Alex Seiden, creative director and visual effects supervisor for the spot, collaborated with Crossroads' directing team Chuck Bennett & Clay Williams, director of photography Barry Petersen, as well as the BBDO team of copywriter Brian McDermott, art director Steve Block and producer Sue Petitti. "We had a wonderful time working with Cyclotron," commented Pettiti. They really saved the day for us." To create the CGI moth, lead animator Doug Vitarelli and technical director Mike Sparber gathered references for texture, shading and lighting by studying still images of moths. By examining real moths, they were able discover subtle nuances, such as the wings moving independently of each other. "You can't slack on the details," Sparber explained, "otherwise the audience would sense it didn't move right or feel right, even at a subconscious level." Cyclotron used Maya for modeling and animation, and Renderman for shading and texturing. Digital artists Tim Farrell, Alison Andoos and Peter Scanlon, working on Inferno, took the nearly empty Daytona Speedway and populated it with the thousands of motor homes that camp out on the racetrack's infield. For further information, contact Fred Wood at fredw@cyclotronnyc.com.