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Guru Brands YTV With Creative Characters

The crew at guru animation studio in Toronto was recently presented a Silver Promax/BDA award for their work on 3 of 15 "very, very short films" for Canada's YTV network. Begun in July 2001, the spots were commissioned for YTV's 2001 fall branding campaign. The 3 1/2 second spots feature various characters, each of whom convey an abstract emotion, a weird concept or just a simple visceral pleasure. "The YTV creative team had a fabulous list of ideas for us to work with and a strong visual framework for the animation," said creative director Frank Falcone, "It is a rare luxury to be asked to contribute so much to a creative spec and the YTV team was very supportive in granting us freedom to create while working closely with us throughout the project to guide the art direction and look of the work." Frank noted that the studio's bread and butter is often packaged goods branding narratives, which are usually more restrictive with their creative guidelines. "While the clients that manage those brands are usually unwilling to take chances with their corporate image, the YTV folks wanted nothing but to push the limits of their brand identity," agreed producer Anne Deslauriers. "In fact, we didn't even have to worry about incorporating logos or words into the shorts. The overall color palette and the decidedly 'bent' concepts provided to us by YTV are what really define and fuel the identity of the brand." All the original characters, designed by the artists at guru, were modeled and set-up in Maya as fully-functional digital puppets easily adapted to longer story lines. After Effects was used for compositing and Photoshop for paint work. Audio design was handled by YTV. The guru animation team included Mark Ainslie, Sean Sullivan, Timmy Kan, with Daniel Abramovitch, Kris Howald, Amy Lu, Jamie McCarter, Robert Padovan and Carol Prince. Some modeling and set-up was done by Jeff Bell and Mark Neysmith. The YTV team included creative director Dolores Keating-Mallen, art director Vince Robles and writer Keith Harrick.