The Mission Makes Aliens Smile For McDonald’s
Press Release from The Mission
“Earth’s Treasure” for McDonald’s and Dr. Pepper
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.