Western Images has finished work on the animation and effects for Melon-choly, a commercial spot for Quaker Oats Crispy Minis snack food. In the spot, designed to promote healthy snacks, a desperate potato chip attempts to eliminate his competition, but ends up meeting its own demise instead. The rogue chip attempts to push bags of Crispy Minis off a kitchen counter, but isnt strong enough to finish the job. It backs up to enable a running attack, but as it is about to make contact, the bags are moved, and in Wile E. Coyote style, it pauses, holds up a Yikes sign, and falls into the garbage. As the chip shakes off bits of eggshell, it sees a watermelon rolling towards it, casting a shadow of gloom. Realizing the end is near, the tiny chip holds up a small umbrella. Giving a faceless potato chip a defined personality was a challenge to the Western Images crew, especially without the luxury of facial expressions or hand gestures. The animation and modeling for the chip and some of the product packages was done using Softimage 3D, with Flame being used for a sizeable portion of the compositing. Western Images worked with Cognito, an L.A. production company, on a four-week schedule, to create an animated, entertaining, photo-realistic potato chip on the brink of extinction.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.