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Guerilla FX Animates Checkers/Rally's Spots

Guerilla FX has completed the 3D animation on a series of four :30 spots for Checkers Drive-In Restaurants: TOASTER, BIG ON CHICKEN, LASSO and DOLLAR SIGN (which they also edited). Developed through ML Rogers Agency (New York, NY), the commercials air on spot TV in up to 30 markets. The first three spots began airing last month and DOLLAR SIGN will begin its run on Dec. 31.

For all of these spots Guerilla FX's first challenge was to define a style. Although they could have used a Tex Avery approach, they chose a 3D rendering technique that had both a sense of whimsy and provided a photoreal sense of the Checkers and Rally's stores.

"Our animations gave the brand a strong personality while allowing the buildings to do a number of outrageous things. Finding the right balance took a little doing. There were times in our R&D process when we crossed the line and took our animation to a place where it became a little too rubbery. As we wanted the animations to be strong and crisp, we had to pull back a bit," Guerilla FX Creative Director Thor Raxlen explained.

"Our technique worked especially well in BIG ON CHICKEN and LASSO. For BIG ON CHICKEN, we wanted to say that there is a lot of chicken taste here. However, the agency didn't want to lose the sense of an actual building so we pushed the parameters as far as we could and played with the morphing of the building until it became 1â2 chicken and 1â2 store. I think that is why the animation is so effective. Stop on any frame and it is still a store, but because of the way it moves you feel it is a store with the heart of a chicken. In LASSO, you really want the drive-thru to feel as though it has the heart of a cowboy, and it does. These are sharp, playful little animations that add a great deal of fun to this commercial genre," Raxlen continued.

Under the direction of Raxlen, the 3D animations were completed at Guerilla FX by Senior 3D Artists Jesse Holmes (TOASTER); Vance Miller (BIG ON CHICKEN); Jesse Holmes (LASSO); and Holmes and Miller (DOLLAR SIGN); 3D Artists Andy O'Donnell (TOASTER) and Chaias Wong (BIG ON CHICKEN, LASSO and DOLLAR SIGNS); Compositors Stefania Gallico and Matt St. Ledger (Toaster); and Post Supervisor Jody Peters.

Guerilla FX utilized 3ds Max and V-Ray for the 3D work, After Effects for compositing and Final Cut Pro with Kona 2s and 3s for the editorial assignment.

New York-based Guerilla FX (www.guerillafx.com), an independent design, effects and post finishing company, is the natural out growth of the relationship created when 0:2:60 Exec Producer Doug Robbins first signed Visual Effects Designer/Editor/Director Thor Raxlen for commercial direction. Together they launched Guerilla FX in January 2006. They have recently completed high profile projects for clients, including Citibank, FedEx, Foot Locker, General Mills, Kyocera, Montefiore Hospital, MTV, Nexxus, Nike, Subway, TRESemme and Verizon, among many others.

Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Inc. (www.checkers.com) is the largest double drive-thru restaurant chain in the U.S. The company develops, owns, operates and franchises quick-service Checkers and Rally's double drive-thru restaurants.