Riverstreet Productions, a leader in creative television production, and Blur Studio, the Santa Monica, California-based computer animation and visual effects studio, have teamed up again to develop an image campaign for the Kids' WB! 2002-2003 season. For the fifth consecutive year, Kids' WB! tapped Riverstreet Productions to develop the network's branding and ID campaign. The ongoing creative collaboration between Kids' WB! and Riverstreet Productions has earned the companies 14 Promax Awards, including four Gold Muses and one Promax World Class Award. Blur Studio is on board again for the fourth year incorporating its irreverent creativity through computer animation, visual effects and post-production to help win several of the awards.
Commenting on the collaboration with Riverstreet and Blur, Betsy McGowen, svp of Kids' WB! marketing, said,"We share the same creative passion to raise the bar, making sure each year's image campaign has not only a strong brand presence but also includes an exciting kid interactive experience."
The individual spots are set on an animated studio backlot, inspired by the actual Warner Bros. lot, but governed by the laws of cartoon physics. Live-action, cel animation and CG are all rolled together into a madcap view of life on Kids' WB!'s backlot where live-action kids interact with animated characters, plus the Kids' WB! logo and 3D water tower also come alive to join in the antics. This on-air package includes a 75-second hero spot called a HOOPLA and more than 40 branded spots.
Riverstreet conceptualizes and writes the scripts, as well as directs the live-action footage. Blur's team prepares character concepts and storyboards, provides visual effects supervision on the set, creates all of the 3D elements and handles all of the compositing and integration. Riverstreet shot all of the live-action elements on the Warner Bros. lot and, in an unusual approach, filmed background elements on 35mm film and blue screen elements on high definition video. "Shooting the effects elements on high def allowed us to work quickly and provide Blur's effects artists with elements that composited well," said Tracy Pion, creative director at Riverstreet.
Blur Studio concept artist Chuck Wojtkiewicz designed the fantasy world of the movie studio environment plus the many characters, vehicles and props including a giant jack-in-the-box, a cannon, a submarine and a busy "Cartoon Lab" where prospective characters are tested for their ability to withstand pounding, stretching, batting and having anvils dropped on their heads.
In post-production, Blur's artists mixed mediums in every conceivable combination. Cel animated and computer animated characters roam the live-action backlot. Live-action kids move through the CG movie studio. In the CG world, a "cartoonilator" is used to transform kids from live-action to CG. "For each interstitial, we needed to integrate existing 2D elements from the show that was being promoted," explained Blur Studio CG supervisor Paul Taylor. "It was a challenge for our compositors to integrate the 2D characters into the 3D environment and not only make them look like they belong, but make their actions make sense in that world."
Blur used 3ds max with plug-ins from Digimation, Cebas and Afterworks, among other software. Digital Fusion was used for compositing, Commotion for rotoscoping and image cleanup and PhotoShop for 2D painting. The primary workstations were Intergraph PCs with dual Pentium 550 Xeons.
For more about about Kids' WB! check out www.KidsWB.com. Since 1986, Riverstreet Productions (www.riverstreet.net ) in Los Angeles has offered creative solutions from concept to completion: scripting, design, animation, editorial, film & tape production and finishing. Founded in 1995, Blur has produced numerous projects spanning a wide range of media large format films, commercials, concept art, feature effects, ride films and game cinematics.