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The Mission Makes Aliens Smile For McDonald’s

Venice-based effects house The Mission proves that love for the taste of Dr. Pepper is truly universal in an extraterrestrial new :30 “Earth’s Treasure” for McDonald’s and Dr. Pepper.

“Earth’s Treasure” for McDonald’s and Dr. Pepper

Press Release from The Mission

Venice, CA, July 29, 2011: Venice-based effects house The Mission proves that love for the taste of Dr. Pepper is truly universal in an extraterrestrial new :30 “Earth’s Treasure” for McDonald’s and Dr. Pepper.  With alien character animation rivaling any Hollywood offering, “Earth’s Treasure” features an army of stone-faced aliens turned happy with one sip of soda pop.

The Mission worked closely with BRW USA director Fred Raimondi, character concept designer Tully Summers and environment artist Rob Brown to create this entirely CG alien world for the campaign.  Under the supervision of Animation Director Piotr Karwas, The Mission’s modelers Rual Dominugeuz and Chad Fehmie modeled the aliens and the spaceship world surround them.  Once these aliens were modeled in the 3D space, rigger Nole Murphy created a proprietary armature designed to work with motion capture date as well as keyframe animation.  In order for the characters to have an organic believability of movement, The Mission enlisted the help of Vicon/House of Moves and their latest motion capture technology to achieve the life-like body movements of all the aliens using an experienced actor vs. a stunt performer.  Taking various pieces of motion capture data, The Mission’s animation team Alfonso Alpuerto and Nicole Herr carefully crafted an assortment of detailed character motions, and had the very challenging task of creating photorealistic characters, with a focus on real movement and an organic human feel while maintaining the other worldliness of Alien space.

In conjunction with the alien construction, the spaceship environment was built out in complete 3D space so that The Mission had complete control over camera positioning to get the best possible framing and angle to help visualize the story.  The Mission was able to provide Director Fred Raimondi with a slew of previz shots to cut and play with in edit.  Once texture artist: James Lee applied textures to the environment and aliens, Karwas and Arnold, using Maya and Vray, were able to bring in the colors and other scenic details to create the appropriate aesthetics of the alien creatures.  They worked meticulously on every detail from their eyes, teeth, skin and armor to the reflections of light in the spaceship’s background.

As CG renders began to pour out, the project moved into the hands of the compositors: Chris Moore, Katrina Salicrup and Rob Trent to put together all the pieces and add minute details that bring the piece to the next level, adding in smoke, atmospheric haze and other reflective lighting elements to help build a photorealistic alien universe, giving the scenes a sense of depth and realism, as if the piece was captured on location.  The CG and 2D teams worked together closely, along with Raimondi and McDonald’s/Dr. Pepper, to layer in subtle details, such as the animated hand-held camera style that gave the whole spot such a documentary style realism, which enhanced the life-like quality of the spot.

“Earth’s Treasure” opens in the hold of a cavernous futuristic spacecraft as alien creatures usher in a mysterious piece of cargo, presenting their spoils to a Centurion-like alien chief.  In subtitled alien language, one of them explains: “There is a place on Earth, cherished by billions.”  The creature continues, “Inside—we found this,” opening the item to reveal a large McDonald’s soft-drink fountain machine.  The leader reacts in awe.   One of the minions hands him a McDonald’s cup and he steps forward to fill it with Dr. Pepper. As he takes a long satisfied sip, layers of his face peel away and his countenance changes to a broad smile, kicking off a celebration among the legions of aliens.  Abruptly, we cut back to a McDonald’s on Planet Earth where we see a stunned employee looking at the remnants of a torn-out soda fountain as voiceover calls out the promotional copy: “Come get a one dollar any-sized fountain drink at McDonald’s… While you still can.”

About The MissionThe Mission is a high-end visual effects boutique specializing in commercials, film and digital content.  It is located in the middle of the pop-culture hub known as Abbot Kinney in Venice, CA.

With the talents of some of the most creative and experienced artists in the industry, working with the latest tools and a top-notch production staff, The Mission is a lean and dynamic powerhouse of a partner to deploy into your creative process.

A core group of industry veterans quickly emerged at the close of highly regarded effects house Asylum to launch The Mission.

From concepting, previs, and on-set-supervision, to 2d and 3d visual effects work & design, and on to final mastering, The Mission brings a smart, beautiful and efficient component to every visual dimension of your project.

Credits:Client: McDonald’s/Dr. PepperTitle: “Earth’s Treasure” :30Agency: Moroch USAExecutive Creative Director: Bob ShallcrossCopywriter: Gavin JamesArt Director: David SoamesBroadcast Director: Kathleen TorresProduction Company: BRW USADirector: Fred RaimondiEP: Andy TrainesEP: Gianfilippo PedrottiCharacter Design: Tully SummersMusic, Sound Design, Character Voices: PrimalScream Music @ SoundCreative Director/Executive Producer: Nicole DionneComposer: George KallisSound Designer: Stuart BrawleyAlien Voice Creation: Stuart Brawley

VFX/Animation: The MissionAnimation Director: Piotr KarwasExecutive Producer: Michael PardeeCreative Director: Rob TrentLead Compositor: Christopher MooreCompositor: Katrina SalicrupVFX Producer: Diana ChengAnimator: Alfonso AlpuertoAnimator: Nicole HerrModeler: Chad FehmieModeler: Raul DominguezRigger: Nole MurphyTexturer: James LeeLighter: Oliver Arnold

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