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Hot Spots Showcase 4: The Best in Animated & VFX Commercials

This years "Hot Spots Showcase" curates the best in animated and vfx commercials, music videos and game cinematics from our readers as well as a special showcase of the best of the best from Stash DVD Magazine.

Each year, AWN puts out a call to its readers working in commercials, music videos, IDs and game cinematics to compile a showcase of what they feel is the best of their work. We compile one piece from each company and each year Hot Spots gets bigger and better. In addition to this years reader submitted work, we have a special section of the Showcase, dedicated to the best of the best from Stash DVD Magazine.


A52s Honda Fit Food Chain 


The finished spots really represent director Phil Joanous vision, and I think he was blown away. Overall, the job went really smoothly, and it felt like everyone was on the same page the whole way through. A52s Patrick Murphy.

One of our biggest challenges was giving the agency the comfort level that we could create the cars in these spots in CG and have no one question their believability. A52s Andy Hall.

I could not be happier with the work A52 did on this project. They went above and beyond the call of duty, adding detail and dimension to both spots that were extraordinary. The CG work on the cars was fantastic and the background city they created for the Food Chain spot exceeded my expectations. Once again, A52 proved why they are one of the best and most creative EFX houses in town. MJZ director Phil Joanou.

With A52s Andy Hall, Patrick Murphy and Ron Cosentino on the set, director Phil Joanou filmed all four vehicles shown during the morning, with very specific lighting conditions. With that footage and a concept sketch of a futuristic city, under Joanous supervision, the finished spot was created almost entirely in Maya, using a 2D matte painting of the cityscape enhanced with futuristic CG architectural highlights. The models of the CG vehicles were rendered to perfectly match the live-action vehicles filmed on set, including the use of tracking data from the practical footage to match camera-weave and provide more fluidity in the finished animation. With the CG vehicles composited into the cityscape matching editor Brad Waskewichs cut, Murphy and his fellow Autodesk Inferno artists added debris and dust to the vehicles, tire marks and debris to the road, and atmosphere to the cityscape. With the goal of giving the city a gritty, lived-in look, Murphy also performed a painstaking color-grade in Inferno to properly depict the time of day, adding warmth to the top of the frame and subtle blues to the bottom.

Credits for Honda Fit Food Chain A52 Exec producer: Mark Tobin Producer: Ron Cosentino On-set vfx supervisors: Patrick Murphy & Andy Hall Inferno artists: Patrick Murphy, Ben Looram & Justin Blaustein 3D supervisor: Andy Hall 3D animators: Dan Gutierrez, Chris Janney, Kirk Shintani & Max Ulichney Matte painters: Helen Maier & James Pastorius RPA Creative directors: Joe Baratelli & David Smith Agency exec producer: Gary Paticoff Copywriter: Todd Carey Art director: Curt Johnson Live-action director: Phil Joanou, MJZ Live-action director of photography: Jeff Cutter Rock Paper Scissors Editor: Brad Waskewich Elias Arts Music: Chris Mann 740 Sound Sound Design: Eddie Kim Lime Studios Final Mix: Loren Silber


ATTIKs Scion xB Swarm 


At ATTIK we are now in our 20th year of serving as the brand engineers behind many successful companies. One of our specialties is in connecting end-customers to our clients brands through whatever touchpoints are truly viable. With our Scion clients, we have been very effective in building and conveying Scions brand philosophy through television/cinema ads as part of a complete, cross-media marketing campaign, which has built up over a number of years. This particular campaign, which is targeted to the trendleaders audience, is driven by powerful, original artwork. With the approval of Scions executives, we conceived each new Brand TV ad, and then worked with different design/animation companies to create unique spots that could stand alone while also complementing one another as a campaign. For Swarm, Stardusts team brought a lot of artistry to our vision, and also worked closely with the team at Hydraulx to ensure that all the design elements flowed seamlessly into the finished spot. We feel that Swarm is a powerful example of content that can successfully attract todays young automotive customers. ATTIKs Simon Needham.

Needham and his team at ATTIK, including creative director Wayne Hanson, design director Stan Zienka, copywriter Ariel Lustig and senior producer Michele Morris, began by creating detailed scripts, storyboards and an artful plan to make each of ATTIKs three 2006 Scion Brand TV spots shine. After an extensive global search to find the right location, Needham and his crew traveled to Bangkok to film the live-action for each spot, which was photographed with director of photography Daniel Ardilley. Cutting-edge animation a staple of Scions award-winning broadcast elements once again took a leading role in these new spots. Each Scion model has its own personality, Needham said, so for each of these spots, we sought out a unique animation company to add a distinct look to the respective design elements. Working with the teams at Blind for Shark, Shilo for Shadow and Stardust Studios for Swarm, we provided a lot of guidance up front, and from there, each company gave solid input on creative direction and contributed greatly to the aesthetics of each finished spot. For Swarm, ATTIKs creative team worked extensively with Stardust to nail down the concept, storyboard the action and produce previs and final animated elements. Stardusts artists used Maya 7 and 3ds Max 8 for graphics, CG cars and environments, and After Effects 7 for compositing. BAFTA and VES-Award winning animation and visual effects company Hydraulx handled extensive 2D and 3D effects, editorial and Autodesk Flame finishing on each campaign spot. Also, for the end-shot of each tricked-out Scion, Needham envisioned the use of CGI vehicles, and knew that the addition of environmental reflections was the key to making each animated vehicle look real. Specifically to support this project, Hydraulx purchased a High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDRI) camera system to capture 360-degree, high-resolution photos of each location, which were then used in the final renders of the CGI Scion models at the end of each spot.

Credits for Scion xB Swarm ATTIK Creative directors: Simon Needham & Wayne Hanson Design director: Stan Zienka Copywriter: Ariel Lustig Agency senior producer: Michele MorrisAssistant producer: Joseph Segrove Director: Simon Needham, Hazel Films Live-action director of photography: Daniel Ardilley Scion VP of Scion: Mark Templin Corporate manager of Scion: Steve Haag National marketing and communications manager: Deborah Senior Scion advertising/media manager: Andrea Lim Stardust Studios Exec creative director: Jake Banks Exec producer: Eileen Doherty Producer: Erin Sullivan Art director: Neil Tsai Designers: Neil Tsai, Jon Saunders & Sakona Kong 3D artists and animators: Chris Eckardt, Brian Broussard, Yas Koyama, Delfino Gamboa, Hai Ho, Michael Jones, Mark Lai, Sakona Kong & Neil Tsai Hydraulx Creative directors: Greg Strause & Colin Strause Exec producer: Ian Dawson VFX supervisor: Eric Rosenfeld Editor: Adam Lisagor HDRI supervisor: Jay Johnson CG supervisor: Chris Wells CG artists: Philip Benn, Kirk Cadrette, Long-Hai Pham, Oliver Arnold, Ryan Lorie, Russell Pearsall & Yoshiya Yamada Flame compositors: Jennifer German & MB Emigh Roto Artists: Mattaniah Yip, Chris Payne, Eric Almeras & Gizmo Rivera Matte Painters: Allen Battino & Dark Hoffman Face the Music Michael Schmidt, Tony Shimkin & Jonathan Florencio,


Brickyard VFXs MobileESPN Sports Heaven

Brickyard VFX

Sports Heaven has the world of sports literally invading the cityscape as a sports fan uses a MobileESPN phone. The streets are filled with Indy cars, dragsters and monster trucks. The pedestrians are athletes from virtually every discipline Olympic gymnasts, track-and-field stars, baseball, football and basketball players, a worldclass angler, a boxer and even the National Spelling Bee champ.

The commercial is jam-packed with interesting action and elements, and required compositing or CG effects in almost every shot. Visual effects company Brickyard VFX built everything from people to cars to tennis courts, and the companys mandate was to have each shot pass the pause test, meaning that if someone stopped and looked closely at the frame, they could have fun and find something new with each viewing.

The athletes were filmed live during a four-day shoot in Los Angeles; however, many things needed to be added, removed or tweaked digitally. This included everything from replicating people and altering environments to swapping out team uniforms, building a CG pond and even producing a city park-sized Heisman trophy.

By the huge closing overhead shot, the entire metropolis has become a sports mecca. To create this, Brickyard VFX added marathon runners (shot on green screen and tracked in as sprites), designed a CG skateboard halfpipe, rebuilt the skyline, transformed a highway into an Indy speedway and sent digital jets and fireworks flying over the scene. Geoff McAuliffe and Robert Sethi supervised for Brickyard during filming, collecting camera and lighting data, reflection images and reference stills. Tracking, roto and compositing duties were handled in Brickyards Boston office, while additional compositing and CG work was done at the facilitys Santa Monica studio.

Toolset:Compositing and 2D paint effects: Discreet Flame CG animation and effects: Autodesk Maya, Adobe Photoshop Rendering: Pixar Renderman, mental images Mental Ray Tracking: 2d3 boujou

Credits for MobileESPN Sports Heaven Brickyard VFX Boston/Santa Monica Lead VFX artist: Geoff McAuliffe CG artists: Robert Sethi & Yafei Wu VFX artists: Dave Waller, Robin Hobart, Jimi Simmons & Nathan Walker VFX producers: Kirsten Andersen & Jay Lichtman Arnold Chairman/cco: Ron Lawner Exec creative director: Pete Favat Creative director: Roger Baldacci Art director: Rob Kottkamp Copywriter: Will Chambliss Agency producers: Paul Shannon & Bill Goodell RSA, USA, Inc. Director: Jake Scott Exec producer: Fran McGivern Line producer: David Mitchell Director of photography: Chris Soos Bug Editorial Editor: Andre Betz Company 3 Telecine: Tim Masick Soundtrack Audio Mix: Mike Secher


CA Squares Sopot Event Packaging 

CA Square

At CA Square we are known as much for our branding and strategy solutions as we are for our design work. This piece is a prime example of those two disciplines coming together in a unique project. We were commissioned to create event packaging for one of Eastern Europes largest and most prestigious music festivals, the Sopot festival in Poland. The project included a complete program package for broadcast and extended to design components ranging from print advertisements, leaflets, outdoor billboards, banners, and posters. This was an exciting assignment for us, because in branding the festival we were also effectively branding the city itself. In the end, it was the combination of classic views of the city, a contemporary graphic treatment, and dynamic animation that became the hallmark of this memorable package. We thrive on developing and reimagining unique brands from around the world and this project allowed us to work in multiple disciplines and mediums bringing our philosophy of one brand for all screens to life in an engaging and successful manner. Carlos Ferryros, strategy & creative director.

Toolset: Adobe After Effects, Illustrator, and Photoshop, Alias Maya, Apple Final Cut Pro.

Credits for Sopot Event Packaging CA Square Exec creative director: Carlos Ferreyros Senior art director: Alejandro Melguizo 3D-CG animation: Peter Sussi After Effects animator: Luciano DiGeronimo Producer: Alison Shields


Charlexs Cingular Wireless Flippin 


The challenge here was to create a wall of cell phones that flip and change color, forming various graphic designs when viewed from afar. We created a particle-based system that would flip the phones to the appropriate color depending on the artwork being projected on it. The camera was then animated to fly seamlessly in and out. Although we had only three colors to work with, White, Grey, and Pink, we achieved variations in shade with careful lighting. The scene was then vignetted to create the illusion of an endless wall of phones. Anthony Tabtong, Charlex animation director.

Credits for Cingular Wireless Flippin Charlex Inc. Director: Alex Weil Lead designer/art director: Will Kim CG supervisor: Keith McCabe Exec producer: Adam Isidore Producer: Christine Vallee Editor: John Zawisha Lead effects td: Bill Watral & Stephen K. Mann Lead modeller: Alex Cheparev Animation director: Anthony Tabtong Senior animator: Pat Porter Animator: Adam Burke Lighting director: James Fisher Lighting tds: Gong Myung Lee, James Rowell, Luis Cantillo, John Volny & Ivan Guerrero Designer: Bowe KingFlame artists: Philana Dias, Evan Schoonmaker & Greg Cutler Additional edit: Michael Angelo BBDO New York, BBDO Atlanta Chief creative officer: David Lubars Exec creative director: Susan Credle Creative director: Steve Rutter Art director: Scott Higgins Assistant art director: Jacob Maraya Copywriter: Chris McMurtrey Junior copywriter: Peter Alsante Senior producer: Nicole Lundy Senior music producer: Melissa Chester HSR Mixer: Steve Rosen


Click 3Xs Burger King Friends 

Click 3X

Since our founding in 1994, Click 3X has been crafting memorable impressions with its creative work. This spot for Burger King takes a seemingly normal conversation between two friends and gives it a new twist. Our visual effects team contributed the seamless effects that make this spot standout. We developed an animation technique that allowed us to create stylized, yet believable talking movements for the chickens. As a studio, we thrive on projects that challenge us to think outside the proverbial box whether they are design driven or effects driven. Click 3X has long been known for its creative problem solving and projects like this one let our work shine. Jason Mayo, exec producer/partner.

Toolset: Flame.

Credits for Burger King Friends Click 3X Supervising visual effects artist: Marc Szumski Visual effects artists: Aaron Vasquez & Kevin Quinlan Producer: Cara Buckley Exec producer: Jason Mayo Crispin Porter + Bogusky Exec creative director: Alex Bogusky Group creative director: Rob Reilly Assoc. creative director: Mauricio Alarcon Art director: Anja Duering Copywriter: Mike Howard Exec agency producer: Rupert Samuel Integrated producer: Emily Moore Music producer: Bill Meadows Reginaldo Director: Matt Lenski Director of photography: Dylan McLeod Line producer: Mino Jarjoura Exec producer: Josefina Nadurata Post Logic Colorist: Milan Boncich Red Car Editor: Charlie Cusumano Assistant editor: Joshua Teicher Producer: Reaghan Puleo McHale at Irving Place Mixer: Mark Harder Engineer: Dave Rivera


DUCK Studios United Airlines Dragon 

DUCK Studios

As a commercial animation studio we are always striving to not only to help our clients sell a product, but also to take the audience on a journey, to tell a story. DUCK, and in particular our director Jamie Caliri, had the wonderful experience of being asked to tell the story of one mans adventures while on a business trip, as imagined by his dreaming child. Jamies excellent storytelling works in tandem with the handcrafted style of the stop-motion animation, and together they heighten the emotional resonance of the spot. For Dragon each figure and element of the set was constructed, hand-painted and individually rigged. The paper puppets were then animated in front of the camera during a complex seven-month shooting process. Afterwards, the visible rigging was removed and the scenes were edited together using After Effects. The effect is that of a beautiful and powerful illustration come to life. The spot was the recent recipient of an AICP award. Gwynn Adik, head of production/senior producer.

Techniques Used: Cut-out animation, stop motion, Adobe After Effects.

Credits for United Airlines Dragon DUCK Studios Animation director/designer: Jamie Caliri Exec producer: Mark Medernach Senior producer/head of production: Gwynn Adik Fallon/Minneapolis Exec creative directors: Bruce Bildsten & Paul Silburn Group creative director/copywriter: Stuart DRozario Art director: Bob Barrie Director of broadcast production: Brian DiLorenzo Exec producer: Kate Talbott Assistant producer: Henni Iwarsson


FlickerLabs Comedy Central and American Legacy American Leaf 


This job had it all great clients at Comedy Central and American Legacy, fun scripts and, best of all, the aim of the spots was to give the tobacco industry a nice kick in the pants. I lost my dad and an aunt to smoking, and have wrestled with quitting myself since I was a kid, so that was a kick I helped land with real satisfaction. We do all sorts of commercial work at FlickerLab and always have fun with it. But being able to make spots that use our humor and animation chops to have a positive impact, well that speaks to the whole reason FlickerLab came about in the first place. We were grateful for the chance to do so. Harold Moss, creative director/director

Tools: Flash, Photoshop, After Effects, Final Cut Pro.

Credits for Comedy Central and American Legacy American Leaf FlickerLab Creative director/director: Harold Moss Exec producer: Karen Stewart Senior producer: Melissa Johnson Animation directors: Phil Lockerby & Nikolay Nachev Td: Franklin Zitter Designer: Max Porter, Scott Gursky, Brian Cox, Phil Lockerby, Nick Bertonazzi & Zartosht Soltani 2D animators: Phil Lockerby, Nikolay Nachev & Nick Bertonazzi Claire Samuels Composite artists: Eric Merola Sound design/mix: Tom Lino Comedy Central Producer: Lesley Keene


Flying Machines Sport5 Basketball Ident 

Flying Machine

I think this project embodies what we do best: branding, or in the case of Sport5, re-branding on a global scale. This project marked the just the second re-brand in Sport5s seventeen year history. While a number of the components are quite different from the piece shown here, they all reflect a common theme. We sought to bring the Sport5 brand inline with sport culture outside of the broadcast arena. It was about developing continuity between the many facets of sports culture, from how it is portrayed in the retail environment, to advertising, to the events themselves. We showcase sports from the fans perspective, capturing the emotion, the blood, sweat and tears that every sports fan holds dear. Making that initial emotional connection with the audience is the key. From there we look to create compelling visuals that make the work memorable. We utilized a combination of live action, animation and illustration to create the package. Micha Riss, creative director

Toolset: Adobe After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator, Avid Media Composer, Apple Final Cut Pro HD and Power Macintosh G5 workstations, Sony & JVC HDV Cameras.

Credits for Sport5 Basketball Ident Flying Machine Creative director: Micha Riss Design director: Daisuke Endo Velvet Prods. (Israel) Project Manager/Producer: Albert Banon JCS (Israel) Art director: Assaf Cohen Director of animation: Yuval Meron Designers: Ori Sucari & Tsah Cohen Animators: Amnon Hadad, Gill Waiss, Ronnen Shaya & Alon Feuerstein CG animator: Lior Agron Sound design & Mix: Moti Benni Exec producer: Idan Producer: Lior Mordehay Director/scriptwriter: Ran Slavin Director of photography: Giora Bich Soundman: Tully Hen Key grip: Avi Dasberg Sound design & mix: Jungel Sound & Ran Slavin


Framestore CFCs Rexona Go Wild 

Framestore CFC

Framestore CFC already had a name for doing animals when Go Wild came along. And I promised myself that if we were going to do another big creature job, then it had to be of a quality never seen before in commercials. Andy Boyd, head of 3D, commercials.

Go Wild features just 11 real beasts (i.e. animals captured on film during a shoot) transformed into 137 real (i.e. Inferno-cloned) creatures, which are in turn joined by some 302 purely CG animals. Of the eight creatures seen in the spot, two (the Orang-Utan and the Hyenas) were the product of real animals being multiplied in the Inferno, two (the sea lions and penguins) were purely the creation of the 3D team, and the remaining four (bison, mandrill, chimp and bear) were a blend of real animals and digital duplicates.

The animators worked in Maya, with the completed geometry then taken into Houdini. Complementing Boyd and (Senior TD) Dan Seddons proprietary grooming system for Houdini, the animators devised their own, Maya-based tricks to improve the pipelines efficiency writing their own rigging tools, for example, which organised and systematised components that were frequently used. Combined with masterly Inferno work by VFX Supervisor, Stephane Allender, the overall result is a 60 second spot featuring more animals than your average Discovery Channel documentary!

Credits for Rexona Go Wild Framestore CFCVFX supervisor/inferno: Stephane AllenderCGI supervisor/td: Andy BoydLead animator: Dale NewtonSenior technical directors: Dan Seddon & Simon StoneyTechnical directors: David Mellor, James Healy & Michele FabbroAnimators: Nicklas Andersson, Kate Hood, Dean Robinson, Luca Mazzoleni, Brad Silby, Craig Penn, Vincent Devay & Laurent BenhamoModeling: Alex Doyle & Simon FrenchMatte Artists: Dasha Ashley & Nicha KumkeawInferno assistant: Chris Redding3D Assistant: Paul JonesTelecine: Steffan PerryProducer: Abby Orchard AgencyLoweCopywriter: Tom HudsonArt Director: Lee GouldingAgency Producer: Charles CrispProduction Company: Biscuit Filmworks/IndependentDirector: Noam MurroProducers: Richard Packer (Independent), Holly Vega & Jay Veal (Biscuit Filmworks)


Imaginary Forces Chittenden Bank Ground Up 

Imaginary Forces

Imaginary Forces (IF) excels at creating cutting edge, visually stunning images with an eye for storytelling that gives each piece a personal touch. For KSV and Chittenden Bank, a local bank centered in Burlington, Vermont, the team at IF created commercials that told the stories of some of Chittenden Banks most successful ventures. One of these, Ground Up, is about Black River Produce, a company founded by two ski bums who wanted to sell produce, as the spot says. Ground Up utilizes a collage animation techniquesimilar to the cartoons seen on the classic BBC series Monty Pythonthat incorporates old pictures of the founders with historical and archival images associated with farms, veggies and agriculture. What appealed to me the most about this campaign was that it was a chance to make each story distinctive, and to give each its own look. We jumped off with local flavor of these companies. Theres not a big emphasis on technology, and that helps makes them feel very human. We used handmade looks and techniques, which gives them warmth. Ground Up is a prime example of what IF does best: making a story compelling and personal using a mix of media. director Karin Fong.

Credits for Chittenden Bank Ground Up Imaginary Forces Director: Karin Fong Producer: Carla Sacks Designers: Dana Yee, Jennifer Shainin & Arisu Kashiwagi Animators: Dana Yee & Arisu Kashiwagi Editor: Caleb Woods Head of production: Maribeth Phillips Kelliher Samets Volk Agency producer: Tamara Jones Agency creative director: Bill Drew Agency art director: Todd Gallentine


Ka-Chew!s SpaghettiOs 


The SpaghettiOs :30 is the third spot ka-chew! has done for the brand. This new approach from the Young and Rubicam Agency for advertising SpaghettiOs, using popular musical stylings and hip hop and rock tracks has helped bring about a major revival of the brand. The spot opens and closes with line animation with designs and animation in Paul Demeyers personal style of drawn animation. Then Paul did storyboard, design and posing for the overall spot, which was animated in Maya under his close supervision. The spot was rendered in Mental Ray using Final Gather and Ambient Occlusion. The 32-bit compositing was done in After Effects 7. This combination of softwares helped produce the subtle use of diffusion, defocusing and warm lighting which characterize the spot. What do you see? SpaghettiOs and Meatball cruise a seaside resort town in low riders!

Credits for Campbells SpaghettiOs Director/Designer: Paul Demeyer Producer: Nathalie Renard Exec producer: Liz Seidman CG director: Bryan J Blevins Project lead/lighter: Ryan Smith Lead td/custom tools: James Parks Senior texture artist/modeler: Jessi Change Animators: Scott Holmes, Tom Sorem & Joe Oh Technical Director: Sean Durnan Modeler: Leah SK Davidson 2D animator: Ray Smyth 2D cleanup: Diana LeBost 2D EFX: Tom Pope 2D technical director: Paul Grant Smoke editor: Paul Yacano Editorial assistant: Alex Kalsey Y&R New York Art director: Marylou Lane Creative director: Katherine West Writer: Nanette Lerner Producer: Stacy Kay EVP: Richard Marlis SVP/creative director: John Andrews


Karactazs Band Aid Waterproof Toughstrips 


Sydney based Design and VFX house Resolution Design commissioned Karactaz to produce the character animation in this awesome wild watercolor-backed organic style. Working from style guide illustrations and live-action reference footage, the Karactaz team completed animation on the drawing board and output all layers separately for resolution to composite into the final TVC. Teamwork is our specialty!

Credits for Band Aid Waterproof Toughstrips Karactaz Character animation directors: Ross Payne & Dylan Coburn Resolution Design Director: Tim Dyroff Art director: Steve Scott


Kurtz & Friends California Dept. of Health Services/Anti-Smoking I Know, I Know 

Kurtz & Friends

The California Department of Health Services has come back to Kurtz & Friends repeatedly because the public service spots that we produce together are so successful. I Know, I Know is the 6th collaboration involving CDHS, Paul Keye & Partners and Kurtz & Friends; we are on a mission.

The consequences of smoking are so devastating and it is such a serious issue that most people who are smoking simply will turn the channel, leave the room, turn you off. You have to be humorous with the subject of quitting, so that you can hook your audience long enough to listen to the message. Its a huge challenge, but very rewarding. I feel so motivated every time CDHS comes back with another spot, says director Bob Kurtz who not only lost his father, but also his best friend and long-time Kurtz & Friends designer, Robert Peluce to lung cancer.

Credits for California Dept. of Health Services/Anti-Smoking I Know, I Know Kurtz & Friends Director/designer: Bob Kurtz 3D CG lighting effects: Scott Johnston Editor: Kenneth Smith Animators: Gary Mooney, Pam Cooke & Tim Harringer Digital ink & paint supervisor: Jennifer Felipe Paul Keye & Partners Producers: Paul Keye & Beth Hagen CDHS/TCS Exec producer: Colleen Stevens


METAphrenies adidas TUNIT Global Retail Package 


We had successfully collaborated with adidas on a number of high profile campaigns and product launches over the past few years so when adidas was preparing to launch the +F50 TUNIT line of high performance soccer shoes we were eager to partner again to create the global retail campaign. I think our work for adidas, the TUNIT campaign included, is a prime example of the type of work we do best. Whether we are helming a live action production to serve as the basis of a campaign or creating design elements from scratch in the digital environment, METAphrenie offers clients a one-stop solution from initial concept development through design, production and finishing. For the TUNIT campaign we were tasked with crafting a visual solution to detail the range of personalization options and explain the advanced technology incorporated into each shoe. Incorporating clean, contemporary graphics and photoreal CG, we sought to create compelling visuals that would capture a viewers attention in the retail environment no matter when they happen upon it. Ultimately, its up to us to convey a message that not only resonates with consumers but dovetails with the brands overall creative voice. Andrea Dionisio and Mike Helmle, creative directors.

Toolset: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Alias Maya, Maxon Cinema 4D, Apple Power Macintosh workstations.

Credits for adidas TUNIT Global Retail Package METAphrenie (Berlin, Germany)Director/designers: Andrea Dionisio & Mike HelmleLead animator/designer: Adam Gault3D artist: Robert WegemundComposer/sound designer: Xaver Naudascher


Primal Screens CDC Verb Play Outside 

Primal Screen

Playing outside looks fun when you see Cartoon Network characters tossing the sun around like a ball. The CDC Verb campaign continues to promote a healthy lifestyle by encouraging kids to exercise. Primal Screen artists translated the playing in the sun concept used in the original live-action spots to an animated world. To create a realistic glowing orb that could live within multiple cartoon environments, Primal Screen developed a unique approach. While the characters were conventional 2D animation, the sun had to look three dimensional. Using a combination of traditional hand drawn 2D animation, with Flash, Photoshop, and After Effects; elaborate light and shadow effects were applied so the sun ball illuminated the environment, imitating light passing through an otherwise two dimensional environment.

Credits for CDC Verb Play Outside Primal Screen Animation director: Jeremy Seymour Animators: Joe Kubesheski, Jeff Fastner & Joanna Davidovich 3D animators: Bill Ullo & Daniel Wiggins Backgrounds: Reese Lloyd Original music & sound: Steven Mank Inks: Ron States, Jonathan Floyd & Yardley Hickey Scanning and painting: Teresa Cloud Interns: Jennifer Medlin & Tonyefa Oyake Creative director: Doug Grimmett Producer: Hunter Matheson Exec producer: Susan Shipsky Cartoon Network Writer: Merrill Hagan Producer: Allison Dressler


Radiums Target Product People 


Items from the Target aisles produce a veritable house party of Product People. The animated characters in the entirely CG ad were brought to life by Radium via motion capture sessions at House of Moves, where performances to drive the CG models were recorded by real dancers in realtime.

Credits for Target Product People RadiumDirector: Steve WilliamsEditor: Alan ChimentiVisual Effects: Jonathan Keeton, Aladino Debert, Frederico Saccone, Giancarlo Lari, Leo Juarez, Mark Wurtz, Michael Hobbs, Rick Thomas, Todd Perry & Val SinlaoPeterson Milla HooksCreative director: Dave PetersonArt director: Bethany NagyAgency producer: Gary TassoneTen Music Music/Sound Design: Rachel Dunn, Sarah Gavigan & The Transcenders


Renegade Animations H-E-B Pyramid, Dive In 

Renegade Animation

Commercials for supermarkets are rarely include animation and so we were delighted to receive this assignment for the Texas based chain H-E-B from The Richards Group. The spots are also unusual because they are aimed at kids. We created two spots using cel animation for the characters and Flash for background environments. We take advantage of what each technique does best: the warmth, personality and humor of cel; and the design magic of Flash. As a result, we were able to create a pair of spots that have the kind of eye catching fun kids are used to seeing in cartoons, while holding down the cost of production. Darrell Van Citters, supervising director, Renegade Animation

Credits for H-E-B Pyramid, Dive In Renegade Animation Supervising director: Darrell Van Citters Animation director: Scott OBrien Technical director: Andy Jolliff Storyboards: Darin McGowan & Shellie Kvilvang Production designer: Peter Michail Production manager: Peggy Regan Sound Design: Thomas Chan The Richards Group, Dallas Creative directors: Bill Cochran & Patrick Murray Art Director: Mike Latour Writer: Jack Westerholt Producer: Bridget Fontenot Pixel Plantation Post Production: Rick Greenwald


Rhythm + Hues Commercial Studios Crayola The Growing Tree 

Rhythm + Hues Commercial Studio

I enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with Ann, Floh and Martin of McGarryBowen in creating this astonishing world of color and imagination. Steve Beck, director.

This was a fun but demanding project that allowed us to fully utilize all of our studios resources in realizing this wonderful painterly world of creativity. Steve Beck worked closely with McGarryBowens creative team in designing the entire environment and directed our cast to interact within the tree and its color palette. Paul Babb, exec producer.

Credits for Crayola The Growing Tree Rhythm + Hues Commercial Studio Director: Steve Beck Exec producer: Paul Babb Head of production, live-action: Kat Dillon Producer: Joel Zimmerman Online editor: Steve Wellington Asst. editor: Tim DeLone Manager of digital post-production: Thom Burkhart VFX head of production, commercial digital: Lisa White VFX supervisor: John Heller VFX producer: Jon Derovan CG supervisor: Nicholas Titmarsh Art director: Sei Nakashima Modeling Supervisor: Keith Hunter Lead Flame compositor: Tim Miller Flame artist: Eric DeHaven VFX coordinator: Christopher Almerico Texture supervisor: Marta Knudsen Painters: Edwin Solorzano, Shahen Jordan, Alp Altiner & Alison Yerxa Senior FX td: Michael LaFave FX td: Jaemin Lee Lighting td: Tom Capizzi Animation td: Hunter Athey Match-move td: Jigesh Gajjar Modeling td: Chien-hsiung Wang Rigging td: Gavin McMillan 3D pipeline tds: Victor Vazquez & Jeffery Beeland 2D production assistant/client services: David J. Moriarty Exec director of the design division: Stacy Burstin Director, digital production: Ken Roupenian Manager, light, fx, pipeline: Jay Miya Manager, track, rig, anim.: Anjelica Casillas Manager, compositing, roto: Jenny Groener 2DIO operations: Nathan Brunskill Video Services: Jenny McGee, Greg Kozikowski, Dino Kovas & Nico Samano Binney & Smith Group manager of advertising & promotion: Steve Ferry Platform leader: Cara Skrips Director of portfolio marketing: Jeff Rogers McGarryBowen Exec creative director: Betsy Petropoulos Creative director: Ann Lemon Art director: Floh Weckert Copywriter: Martin Peters Account managing director: Tricia DeFossey Account supervisor: Jessica Malec Producer: Cara Brophy Company3 Lead colorist: Rob Sciarratta Producer: Denise Brown


RIOT Atlantas GeorgiaGO Become Your Dream 

RIOT Atlanta

Conceived as a PSA to keep kids in school to graduate, the spot began as a statewide competition for high school students who submitted ideas to the state-funded Georgia Education GO Get It Partnership. RIOT Atlantas VFX Director Jeff Doud and Synergy Films Director George Watkins teamed up to craft the production of the winning submission with the assistance of the AICP and Georgia Public Broadcasting. A gritty no-nonsense visual approach combined with a sci-fi inspired transformation propels at-risk students to their imagined futures as doctors, cooks, judges, professionals and architects. Combining live action, green-screen compositing, and CGI liquid/light/morph effects RIOT ran with the entire production from the original storyboards through vfx supervision, cgi animation, compositing, and original music.

Toolset: 3ds Max, RealFlow 3, AutoDesk Flame.

Credits for GeorgiaGO Become Your Dream RIOT Atlanta VFX director: Jeff Doud Producer: Chuck Brock 3D animation: Gavin Holmes Compositing: Gavin Holmes Original music/sound design: Chris Basta Georgia Education GO Get It Director: Brian DominguezPublic relations: Manning Selvage & Lee Sr. account exec, creative services: Holly Kemp Elrod Sequoyah High School Creative Team: Shelley Backstrom, Megan Livingston, Laura Bailey & Lauren Sproul Synergy Films Director: George Watkins Georgia Public Television GPB client productions: Mike Klein


RIOT Santa Monicas Hyundai World on Its Head 

RIOT Santa Monica

Our role in this spot for Hyundai was to figuratively turn the world upside down. We started out by creating a previz of the spot using low rez digital people, cars and debris. That enabled the agency and the director to see how things looked when they moved. It also provided a blueprint for shooting the hundreds of elements that made up the final spot. The production itself took four days. A 20 by 20 motion platform was used to simulate tilting floors and streets. A lot of elements were shot slow motion so that they would appear to be covering a great distance when composited into the backgrounds. The compositing crew faced the biggest challenge as they had just ten days to complete the work and many shots involved hundreds of elements all of which needed to appear to be moving with the same relative motion. The night before the spot was due for delivery, we staged a green screen shoot at RIOT and shot some people that we then added into the backgrounds of several scenes. We felt the spot needed it, so we did it. Andy Macdonald, creative director/VFX supervisor, Riot

Credits for Hyundai World on Its Head RIOT Creative director/VFX supervisor: Andy MacDonald Lead compositor: Andy Davis Compositors: Wensen Ho, Kelly Bumbarger, Sean Wilson & Simon Holden Junior compositors: Kurt Lawson, Cecile Tecson, Robert Tatum & Josh Bolin CG artists: Andy Lesniak, Richard Wardlow, Mike Johnson, Marcus LeVere, Dave Carlson, Ron Griswold, Casey Schatz, Joshua Wassung & Brian Weaver VFX exec producers: Matthew McManus & D. Todd Davidovich VFX producer: Robert Owens Assoc. producer: Ananda Reavis Head of production: Susan T. ONeaColorist: Siggy Ferstl Exec producer: Rhubie Jovanov Producer: Matt Moran The Richards Group, Dallas Brand creative group head: Steve Levit Producer: J.R. Dixon Art director: Bob Brihn Writer: Tina Johnson Account director: Eric Block HSI Prods. Director: Gerard De Thame Exec producers: Fabyan Daw & Maddi Carlton The Whitehouse Editor: Kevin Zimmerman Producer: Gail Butler


Shilos Showtimes HUFF Main Title Sequence 


As a creative production studio, this piece exemplifies the level of visual sophistication and creativity, which we try to bring to all of our work. For us, main titles are all about planting bits of insight for the viewer to discover about the storyline and/or characters. In the case of HUFF, this meant setting up the story that they are about to see. To do this we utilized live action footage, still photography, typography, and graphic illustration all interconnected with a spiraling CG wire it is prime example of our penchant for mixing all forms of media. The open is a journey through the psyche of the main actor, Craig Huff Huffstodt portrayed by Hank Azaria. We cover a broad range of emotions from the shock of birth to issues of acceptance, fear, and joy. As storytellers, designers, and directors, our work is custom tailored to best suit each assignment. For HUFF like all of our work, we sought to push ourselves and the medium as a whole forward.

Toolset: Adobe After Effects and Photoshop, Alias Maya, Apple Final Cut Pro.

Credits for Showtimes HUFF Main Title Sequence Shilo Creative directors: Andre Stringer, Jose Gomez & Christopher Markos Producer: Tracy Chandler Designers/animators/compositors: Andre Stringer, Jose Gomez & Christopher Markos Animator: Cassidy Gearhart 3D designer/animator: Christopher Fung Assistant editor: Sara Dexter Randazzo CMG Inc. Director of photography: Tim Gleason Snuffy Walden Prods. Composer: W.G. Snuffy Walden


Stardust Studios Nissan Murano Glide 

Stardust Studios

This was a unique opportunity for us to show TBWAChiatDay and nearly 90 million viewers of the Super Bowl XL halftime show, where this spot debuted how our production and creative teams could combine efforts to deliver all the elements necessary to create a beautifully unified sequence realizing a powerful concept. The agencys creative team envisioned this set of automotive spots where the visuals were the key aspect, and where the hero car did not have to be seen throughout. By shooting the car in a way that was in tune with our animation sequences, and then applying our full capabilities to make everything flow together naturally, we were able to deliver this engaging spot, which seemed to exceed everyones expectations. Stardusts Jake Banks.

Upon being awarded the project, Stardusts team began previsualizing the camera moves for the live-action shoot, building a 3D car in Maya and moving the cameras around to match camera-car and helicopter perspectives. Banks and DP Neil Shapiro used a camera car, a helicopter, and locked-down mounts to capture the shots and get the angles necessary to match his storyboards. Cleanup work for the car was done in Autodesks Discreet Combustion. The 3D manta ray was modeled in 3ds Max and animated in Maya. We stylized the manta rays a bit so they werent entirely realistic in their appearance, and then rendered them out two different ways-with a cell-shader render and then a shader render-and mixed them together. The cell shader gave the image an outline, so mixing the two gave the model more of a graphic quality, more illustrative. The artists also incorporated additional layers of bubbles, some water, reflections, and shadows, all a mixture of Adobe After Effects and Maya. Stardusts artists also meticulously massaged the transitions from the Murano into and out of the animated sequences to make them as smooth as possible.

Credits for Nissan Murano Glide Stardust Studios Director/exec creative director: Jake Banks Exec producer: Eileen Doherty Live-action director of photography: Neil Shapiro Editor: Tony Hall Producers: Rich Kaylor & Erin Sullivan Lead animator/vfx supervisor: Shane Zucker Designers: Kinda Akash & Neil Tsai Animators: Joseph Andrade, Chris Eckhart, Scott Signore, Ian Townsend & Ash Wagers TBWAChiatDay Los Angeles Creative directors: Rob Schwartz, Joe Shands, Mike Yagi & Chris Lynch Art director: David Steinke Copywriter: Robin Fitzgerald Agency producer: Carrie Schaer Asche & Spencer Music: Greg Herzenach Mophonics Music & Sound Sound Design: John Reese Lime Studios Final Mix: Rohan Young


The Story Companies Goodyear Carbon Fibre 

The Story Companies

Although this spot is intended to look like it is ordinary live action, it required a location that exists nowhere in the real world. A car drives along a winding road through a wheat field that stretches for miles in all directions. We shot the car in Australia where we constructed our own road by plowing a curving track through a farmers field. We graded the ground and covered it in a black tarp. In post-production, Filmworkers Club replaced the black tarp with a CG road surface. They also replaced the sky, touched up the wheat and set a farm building with the Goodyear logo painted on its side in the middle of the field. Toby Philips, director, Story, Chicago

Credits for Goodyear Carbon Fibre The Story Companies Director: Toby Phillips Line producer: Gareth Calverley Hitchcock Fleming & Associates Creative director: Nick Betro Copywriter: Greg Pfiffner Filmworkers Club Colorist: Pete Jannotta AVID editor: Danny Bresnik Filmworkers Club VFX supervisor: Todd Freese Exec producer: Mary OGara Fire artists: Jeff Charatz & Rob Churchill Flame artists: Heidi Anderson & Scott Harris Inferno artist: Chris Ryan 3D artist: Charlie Peterson & Joe Doll


Vitamins Budweiser Select PatternsGet Inside 


Vitamin teamed with St. Louis agency Cannonball to create this spot for Budweiser Select in which bubbles rising in a glass of beer magically transform into dancers. We oversaw the entire production, which included a complicated three-day stage shoot, and extensive visual effects post production. The three-day stage shoot included a day of shooting beer with a high-speed camera, a day of shooting the floating dancers (by hoisting talent through the air with rigs) and a day of shooting dancers in a nightclub environment. Eight principal talent were used as floating dancers; an additional 30 more participated as extras in the nightclub sequence. Because we did a good job in previsualizing the spot, the shoot was well organized, but still difficult to pull off in the time we had. In post-production, artists augmented the practical beer elements with 3D bubbles and textures, and blended them with the live action dancers to form the detailed transitions.

Credits for Budweiser Select Patterns Get Inside Vitamin, Chicago Co-directors/ editors: Ryan Dunn & Vince Haycock Exec producer: Kathy Hurley Line producer: Amy DiPrima Director of photography: Max Goldman Liquid specialist/director of photography: Jim Matlosz Assistant editor: Alan Del-Rio Ortiz VFX artists: Matt Wilson and Matt Lavoy Cannonball Chief creative director: Steve Hunt Creative director: Mike Binnette Account manager: Bob Fishbeck Production business manager: Mary Jarnagin Senior producer: Larry Israel Filmworkers Club Chicago Colorist: Fred KellerOnline editor: Rob Churchill




Carlton Draught Big Ad 

Carlton Draught Big Ad

Sydneys Animal Logic creates hordes of 3D extras, wraps them in flowing robes and sends them rampaging across the New Zealand countryside in a quest to sell some beer. Behavioral controls and performance parameters within Massive crowd simulation software allowed the digital humans to respond to their environment and to the actions of those surrounding them. A month prior to the shoot the AL team commenced 3D pre-vis to determine the camera angles of the crowd scenes and the number of people required for each shot.

Toolset: Inferno, Maya, Combustion, Massive.

For George Patterson Partners CD: James McGrathCreatives: Grant Rutherford, Ant KeoghProducer: Pip Heming For Plaza Films EP: Peter Masterton For Animal Logic VFX super: Andrew JacksonLead compositor: Angus WilsonVFX producer: Caroline Renshaw Music: Cezary Skabiszewski


Journey Into The West Film Trailer 

Journey Into the West Film Trailer

Los Angeles-based Sprite is the new home of Moto Sakakibara, best known as co-director of Columbia Pictures 2001 release Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. With a new CG feature called GON due to hit theatres in 2007, Sprite debuted this trailer at SIGGRAPH 2005 as a demonstration of the companys creative abilities.

Populated by wholly original visions of mechanimals and various yoh-kai (spirit monsters), Journey to the West was inspired by an ancient Chinese tale and takes place in a brilliantly ridiculous place called Nirvana Land which is meant to resemble a meditative state of Buddha.

Toolset: Dell Precision 360, Arnold, Maya.

For Sprite Director: Moto SakakibaraProducer: Junichi YanagiharaAD: Tatsuro MaruyamaConcept designer: Eric Feng3D artists: Tatsuro Maruyama, Takuji TomookaAnimator: Hideki SudoVFX artist: Koji KawamuraSoftware engineer: Tadashi Endo


Alias Sixes Last Music Video 

Alias Sixes Last Music Video

Working from an open brief, NYCs 1st Ave Machine creating the contents of an alien greenhouse where evolution has been coaxed off course. [The video] is about how artificiality is creeping into the modern day world, explains director Arvind Palep, We were looking at a merge between synthetic biology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence and what could spawn from them. The live action was shot on HDV at New Yorks botanical gardens.

Toolkit: 3ds Max, Vray, Sony HDV Camcorder

For 1st Ave Machine Director: Arvin PalepProducer: Serge Patzak



Hummer H3 Monster 

Hummer H3 Monster

The preserve Noam Murros gentle brand of humor in this nod to classic Japanese B movies, long-time collaborators Method Studios decided against CG monsters opting instead for actors in costumes. Working to full a CG previs version of the spot created by Pixel Liberation Front, Method weaves together a complicated mix of motion controlled Tokyo exteriors, 1/24 miniatures, actors on green screen and supplemental CG elements. Read detailed production notes at

Toolset: Maya, Inferno, Memory Head motion controlled camera.

For Modernista! ECD: Gary KoepkeSR AD: Philip BannerySR copy: Alex FlintEP: Lance JensenSR producer: Eric Voegele For Biscuit Filmworks EP: Shawn Lacey TessaroDP: Toby IrwinProducer: Jay Veal For Method Studios Lead 2D: Alex Frisch2D: Andrew Eksner, Alex Kolasinski3D: John Han, Pasha Ivanov, James LeBloch, Dan Dixon, Chris SmallfieldCG CD: Laurent LedruCG tech super: Gil BaronJunior 2D: Katrina Salicrup, Zach Lo, Sarah Eim, Kyle ObleyVFX shoot supers: James LeBloch, Gil Baron, Rich Rama, Laurent Ledru, Alex FrischEP: Neysa HorsburghProducer: Rich Rama Previs: Pixel Liberation Front For Bikini Edit Editor: Avi Oron


Tooheys Extra Dry War of the Appliances 

Tooheys Extra Dry War of the Appliances

Perfect 3D integration, masterful fight choreography and a certain cruel humor ensure that this ad will be present at the awards show next year. Animal Logic teamed with fellow Australians Filmgraphics for the complex spot where the real appliances and their 3D stunt doubles are impossible to tell apart. Find out which are which and read detailed production notes for this project at

Toolset: Maya, Flame.

For Lion Nathan Australia Marketing director: Margaret ZabelMarketing manager: Ben SlocombeBrand manager: Josh GaudryFor BMF Advertising AD: Andrew OstromCopy: Andrew PetchECD: Warren BrownProducer: Sue Stewart For Filmgraphics EP: Jude LengelAnimation director: Simon OLearyEditor: Sue Schweikert For Animal Logic EP: Jacqui NewmanProducer: Sarah BeardLine producer: Pip MaloneDesign/on-set super: Jane MilledgeVFX super: Will Reichelt3D artists: Mike Mellor, Andrew Lodge, Ben Falcone, Alwyn Hunt, Arild Anfinnsen, Steve Beck, Nathan Mitchell, Paul Jackovich, Brett MargulesLead compositor: Leoni WillisCompositing: Angus Wilson, Mark RobinsonSoftware: Chris Bone



Guinness Noitulove 

Guinness Noitulove

Londons Framestore CFC contribute a confounding tidbit to the current debate about with this digital assemblage of CG creatures, trees, grasslands, rivers, waterfalls, a meteorite, green screen footage, ape-man make-up, live action plates of Icelandic scenery, thirsty mudskippers and time-lapse footage of baking bread and boiling sugar standing in for evolving rock. Production schedule: three months. Read detailed production notes at

Toolset: Inferno, Maya, Houdini 3D.

For AMV BBDO CDs: Ian Heartfield, Matt DomanProducer: Yvonne Chalkley For Kleinman Prods. Producer: Johnnie FrankelEditor: Steve Gandolfi For Framestore CFCVFX super/lead Inferno: William BartlettInferno: Alex ThomasAdditional Inferno: Murray Butler, Jonathan HairmanJunior Inferno: Chris ReddingRoto: Nicha Kumkeaw, Daria AshleyCGI super: Andy BoydSR CGI: Dan SeddonCGI: Jamie Isles, David Mellor, James Healy, Laura Dias, Chris Syborn, Alex Doyle, Michele Fabbro, Joe ThornleyLead animator: Quentin MilesAnimators: Nicklas Andersson, Craig Penn, Don MahmoodJunior CGI: Rob RichardsonCGI tracking: Joe LeavsonTelecine: Matthew TurnerProducer: Scott GriffinPA: Sarah Goodwin



Amsterdam-based designer/director Fons Schiedon explains the intricate process in creating this tribute to the ultimate rock cliché, The first idea was to actually train a real monkey to smash guitars. This went fine, but it turned out impossible to teach the bear to drive the monster truck, with the manual gear and all. Quickly it was decided to do it all in animation instead. Although completely made in Flash, the animation was treated in post to look as if it was hand drawn, Xeroxed and badly colored. Creating the sound design involved the actual smashing of 35 instruments and driving a monster truck into a huge MTV logo.

Toolset: Flash, After Effects, Blender, Illustrator, Photoshop, PremierePro.

Director: Fons Sciedon Design/animation: FonzTV


Le Building Student Film 

Le Building Student Film

Written, storyboarded, designed and produced in 4.5 months by five French animation students in their final year the Gobelins School in Paris, this opening short for the Annecy 2005 international animation festival weaves 3D, Flash and traditional 2D animation into a frenetic and charming tale sure to catch the eyes of talent reps on several continents. The group says the biggest challenge after deciding on an idea they all agreed on ­ was blending the production techniques into one coherent look for the film. For the record: Pizza Guy, his bike, the bus and the crane are 3D; the cat on Pizza Guys head is animated in Flash, and the other characters are traditional 2D. Watch Behind the Scenes on the DVD.

Toolset: Traditional 2D, Flash, Maya, Photoshop CS, After Effects, Crater Software CTP, Flash, Logic Audio, Pro Tools, Mental Ray for Maya.

For Gobelins School CG super: Olivier Staphylas2D animation: Marco Nguyen, Pierre Perifel, Xavier Ramonède, Rémi Zaarour3D animation: Olivier StaphylasSound design/music: Olivier CrouetVocal: Manu Nabajoth



Alive in Joburg Short Film 

Alive in Joburg Short Film

Alive in Joburg is the latest personal work from Vancouver-based director and black belt in VFX Neill Blomkamp. Although the setting is bleak and the underlying themes serious, Blomkamp insists the work is a tongue-in-cheek experiment in presenting western science fiction in a non-western setting, Its a strange piece, and I suspect that at first, people might not know how to react to it. But, that tends to be how it is with experimentation. The South African shoot was financed by Torontos Spy Films with all VFX completed by Blomkamp through his new VFX company Ratel.

Toolset: After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Illustrator.

For Spy Films & Ratel EP: Carlo TrulliVFX: Neill BlomkampProducer: Simon Hansen, Sharlto CopleyProduction/location manager: Jason CopeSound recording: Sbo NyembeSound design: Francois LafleurHarmonic Code track: Q DepartmentScore: Clinton ShorterAlien prosthetics: Sarah BergeestMotion capture: Mainframe Inc.



Bell South Kung Fu Clowns 

Bell South Kung Fu Clowns

Director Rocky Morton rescues 70s kung fu parodies from the pop culture bone yard with this A-list effort sure to be ubiquitous at awards shows this year. Working with a spectacular cut by Gavin Cutler, the Mill NY team pumped up the fight sequences with mattes and rig removal and created the CG water for the Matrix-bred scene in which Bonkers the clown bends backwards to avoid being sprayed. Read more detailed notes at

Toolset: Flame, Maya.

For West Wayne CDs: Bobby Pearce, Dave DammanProducer: Connie Newberry For MacKenzie CutlerEditors: Ian MacKenzie, Gavin Cutler For The Mill Flame: Jamie Scott, David ParkerFlame assists: Tara DeMarco, Anu NagarajCGI: Yann MabilleShoot super: Lesley Robson FosterPost producer: Melanie WickhamTelecine: Fergus McCallTelecine assist: Alex MaxwellTelecine producer: Angela Botta


Coca-Cola Arctic Beach Party 

Coca-Cola Arctic Beach Party

Due to legal problems with their agent and complaints from the Los Angeles hairstylists union, the Coca-Cola polar bears chose to shoot their latest TV spot in Europe. Introduced to the world by Rhythm & Hues in 1993, the trio of ursus maritimus completed this, their 10th commercial, with Passion Pictures through their new Paris studio and are now on vacation in an undisclosed part of Finland. Their lawyer did not return queries before press time. Read more sordid details at

Toolset: Maya, Mglr (MacGuff Ligne proprietary rendering software), Trukor (MacGuff Ligne proprietary compositing software).

For Berlin Cameron Red Cell CDs: Chris Shipman, Izzy DeBellisProducer: Chris Kyriakos For Passion Pictures AD: Daniel CacouaultProducer: Erika ForzyEP: Hugo SandsAnimation: Kyle Balda, Pierre Leduc, Christophe PetitLighting: Emmanuel Jarry, Oliver LuffinModeling: Jerome Gordon, Franck ClarencEditor: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda Music: The Beach Boys Animation/post: Mac Guff Ligne


Aeon Flux Game Cinematics 

Aeon Flux Game Cinematics

Starting with 3D scans of Therons body and face, high res pix of the actress in the Aeon Flux costume and a series of facial expression photos, Blur Studio set about recreating the digital doppelganger of the Oscar winning actress. But Blur CG super Kevin Margo reveals the 3D scans were ultimately only used as a rough proportional guide, The client was interested in achieving a stylized/idealized face and body. Margo gives high marks to Brazils skin shader and GI rendering capabilities which, in combination with HDRI images, the team used as a base/ambient lighting pass with key and rim lights added to accent the Aeon character when needed. Based on the 1995 animated MTV series and timed to the Paramount feature release directed by Karyn Kusama, the Aeon Flux game is available for PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Read detailed production notes at

Toolset: 3ds Max, Photoshop, Brazil, Digital Fusion 5, Premiere, PostgreSQL, Perl/Python, Linux Fedora.

For Blur Game developer: Terminal Reality CD: Tim MillerCG super: Kevin MargoAnimation super: Remi McGillLayout/editorial super: Paul TaylorProducer: Sherry Wallace, Debbie YuModeling: John Chalfant, Sze Chan, Zack Cork, Kris Kaufman, Alex Litchinko, Kevin Margo, Brandon Riza, Daniel Trbovic, Tim WallaceRigging/cloth simulation: Carlos Anguiano, Remi McGillAnimation: Wim Bien, Ryan Girard, Bryan Hillestad, Makoto Koyama, Remi McGill, Ruel Pascual, Davy Sabbe, George Schermer, Samir Patel, Paul Taylor, Dave Vallone, August Wartenberg, Onur YeldanLighting/compositing: Heikki Anttila, Kris Kaufman, Kevin MargoFX: Zack Cork, Daniel Perez Ferreira, Jiyoung Hong, Dan Knight, Seung Jae Lee, Kevin Margo, Marlon Nowe, Brandon Riza, August WartenbergCG character technical super: Jon JordanCharacter modeling QC super: Sze ChanMocap super: Eric LalumiereMocap: Ryan GirardConcept design: Francisco Ruiz Velasco, Chuck Wojtkiewicz, Sean McNallyProduction coordinator: Debbie YuPA: Amanda PowellTools programmer: Diego GarciaProgramming/systems admin: Duane Powell, Paul Huang, Matt Newell, Abe SheltonMocap talent: Christopher Hicks, Vanessa Vander Pluym



FedEx Stick 

FedEx Stick

The Framestore NY team (lead by senior Flame artist Murray Butler and head of 3D David Hulin) that brought sumo wrestling chickens to life for Pepsi (Stash 11) help create prehistoric comedy in this Super Bowl XL favorite by re-casting Pteranodon, T-Rex, Brachiosaurus and a diminutive sinosauropteryx from past Framestore projects. Perfecting the 11 CG shots required a total of four weeks, including long hours over the holiday season, to finish in time for the February 5th broadcast. Read detailed production notes at

Toolset: Maya, Flame.

For BBDO NY CCOs: David Lubars, Bill BruceECD: Eric SilverAssociate CDs: Jim Le Maitre, Jonathan MacklerCopy: Jim Le MaitreAD: Jonathan MacklerEP: Elise Greiche For Traktor EP: Jim BouvetDOP: Tim Maurice-Jones For Framestore NY VFX super/sr Flame: Murray ButlerVFX super/head of 3D: David HulinVFX producer: James Razzall For Mackenzie Cutler Editor: Gavin Cutler


AMD The Little Fella Online Viral 

AMD The Little Fella Online Viral

It is not very often that a client approaches you with an open brief and when on the rare occasion it does happen we generally find that being very, very suspicious is an appropriate MO. Sometimes it all goes horribly pear-shaped and you fall into the trap of doing lots of work for very little money under the pretense that you had total creative control when in fact you end up being repeatedly and viciously shafted by clients who are totally out of control with approvals because they disagree with your genius naked titty bitches napalming the police idea. And then again sometimes it works out OK, like on this job. Read more from Tokyo Plastic at

Toolset: 3Dswizz, Wavemaster FX, Meteorite 2 with all the LF plug-ins, AMD stuff.

For Digital Lifestyle Group Producers: Julie Moon, David Packman For Jack Morton Worldwide Producers: Janine Pasvolsky, Philip McDougall For Tokyo Plastic Directors/producers: Sam Lanyon Jones, Andrew CopeComposition: Nick FaberAnimation: Abraham MeneuConcept artwork: Damian Johnston


Dynamo Short Film 

Dynamo Short Film

The ancient city of Valenciennes in northern France, once celebrated for commodities like steel and fine linens, has recently become known for a different kind of export; exceptional animation talent. Supinfocom, the animation school established in 1988 by the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry, consistently produces students whos films offer fresh styling, thoughtful narratives, inventive direction, technical mastery and sophisticated use of sound design and music. Informed industry players haunt the hallways keeping a close eye on graduates.

A tightly edited allegory of two characters whos cooperation is essential to keep their planet rotating. Dynamo won the Prix Ecoles et Universités at the 2006 Imagina Festival in Monaco. For more information, visit

Toolset: Maya, After Effects and Photoshop.

Director: Fabrice Le NezetCharacter rigging/modeling: Mathieu GoutteMusic: Benjamin Mousquet



National Lottery The Big Win 

National Lottery The Big Win

The brief for this UK lottery spot a man is given a bag of smiles and hands them out to everyone he meets was simple but full of potential and Londons Studio AKA responded with a wide selection of creative treatments. The agency ultimately favored this charm-filled 3D rendering of their generosity theme by BAFTA winning director Marc Craste (see Stash 01, XX). Studio AKA CD Philip Hunt asserts that the studios best creative work and our happiest clients result from ideas that are kept simple, when casting is decisively made and both agency and client understand how to plant an idea and let it grow.

Toolset: XSI, After Effects.

For Amv BBDO Producer: Celestine Hall For Studio AKA Producer: Nikki Kefford-White3D team: Andy Staveley, Fabrice Altman, James Gailard, Chris Syborn, Matt Morris, Rob Latimer3D animators: Joris Van Hulzen, Boris Kossmehl, Fabienne Rivory, Dave Antrobus, Ben Boquelet, Abraham Meneu OsetAfter Effects/compositing: Will EagarEditor: Nic GillPA: Cat Scott


MTV HD Crow 


To launch their new HD network to feature exclusively hi-def and 5.1 surround sound programming MTV gave Psyop complete creative freedom to create six :15 station IDs. Psyop said no. What they proposed instead was one 90-second film that could be broken into six discreet pieces.

MTV gave us their complete trust and support to come up with something very different and unexpected, says Psyop EP Justin Booth-Clibborn. What we gave them can best be described as a visual haiku, a spot that is all the more detailed and effective because of its seeming minimalism.

Co-directors Hyon and Spier, knowing the work would never have to be adapted for standard definition, were eager to push the medium where it had never gone. Thats how this spot ended up with so many thin, high-contrast lines that would buzz like crazy on regular television, asserts Spier, We were able to actively work with those kinds of elements, knowing the resolution would support it.

That resolution also proved to be the biggest challenge: When working with HD, every frame becomes insanely big, explains Hyon. And more than that, HD wont let you hide little errors the way you can in NTSC. With this level of detail, it has got to be flawless. Read more from Psyop at

Toolset: XSI, Maya, Flame, Photoshop.

For Psyop EP: Justin Booth-ClibbornProducer: Lucia GrilloFlame: Eben MearsLead 3D: Pakorn Bupphavesa3D: Laurent Barthelemy, Alvin Bae, Todd Akita, Kevin Estey, Damon Ciarelli, Dave Barosin , Jason Goodman, Lutz Vogel, Mate Steinforth, Ajit Menon2D/rotoscope: Ella Boliver, J Bush , BeeJin TanJr Flame: Jaime AguirreEditor: Brett Goldberg Music: Q DepartmentProducer: Julie HurwitzComposer: Drazen Bosnjak


Yeah The Movie Film (work in progress) 

Yeah The Movie Film (work in progress)

Vadim Draempaehl has been working on Yeah! The Movie between freelance gigs since 2002 and admits he has imposed no final deadline on himself. We couldnt wait any more so here are three clips of animation tests to act as an unofficial trailer for the short. Draempaehl says the goal of the work so far has been to get a feeling for the four different characters of the movie... and to try out what is possible regarding cloth, hair, facial expressions and global illumination rendering. I also wanted to see how the characters appeal to the audience and how my kind of humor works. Please note there is no motion capture involved, all the sequences are animated by hand. Draempaehl is repped in the U.K. by Lapin Blanc, the animation unit of London commercials and film company Lucky Elliot.

Toolset: 3ds Max, Character Studio 3, Brazil.

Director/animation: Vadim Draempaehl Music: Alex Pfeffer, Frank Herrlinger



Vodafone Speech Bubbles

Vodafone Speech Bubbles

Since no one could tell him what these 3D speech bubbles were supposed to look like, Framestore VFX super Jake Mengers says he went with the agencys anti-reference note, They emphatically didnt want it to look like balloons. I pushed more for sub-surface scattering, which gives the bubbles a translucent look they hold a certain amount of light and it gives a different feel about the volume and whats inside. Over the five-week schedule the team also pushed the boundaries of how the speech bubbles would behave by fitting a dynamic hair system inside the bubbles so that a character could be tracked and the bubbles would be invisibly tethered to them.

For JWT CD: Steve DunnCreatives: Jason Berry, Ben ShortProducer: Sarah Patterson For Academy Producer: Mark Whittow Williams For Framestore CFC VFX super/sr TD: Jake MengersTD: Simon FrenchLead animator: Dale NewtonAnimators: Paul Denchard, James Healy, Dean RobinsonLead Inferno: Alex ThomasInferno: Christophe Allender, Marcelo PasqualinoTelecine: Matt TurnerProducer: Abby Orchard


G4 Midnight Spank

Wet turds, electrocution, projectile vomit and abuse of illegal substances are all part of the daily routine for these stop-motion monkeys. Created to launch G4s Midnight Spank programming block, these reckless primates romp through an entire broadcast design package of interstitials, line-up menus, pop-ups, and lower thirds.

For BBDO ECD: Eric SilverCD/AD: Jerome MarucciCD/copy: Steve McElligott, Ari WeissSr producer: Anthony CurtiMusic producer: Rani Vaz For Hornet Director: Peter SluszkaProducer: Greg BedardEP: Michael FederLead compositor: Dan DeGloriaCompositor: John Earle, Brian Spector, Gregor HofbauerEditor: Anita ChaoStop motion producer: Joel KretschmanDOP: Ivan AbelAD: Tim McDonaldFabricator: Nathan Asquith, Pete Erickson, Elise Ferguson, Michael LawrenceAnimators: Jason Patterson, Juliana Cox, Matt Soma, Kevin CoylePAs: Brian Mackey, Aaron Rosenbloom Music house: FrisbieSound design: Noises DigitalComposer: Kim ChristensenMix: Sound Lounge, Audio Engine


Warhammer: Mark of Chaos Game Cinematic 

Warhammer: Mark of Chaos Game Cinematic

Based in Budapest, Hungary, Digic Pictures secures its position on the cinematic A-list with this Warhammer intro piece which stole the show at E3 2006 in LA and will appear in the 2006 SIGGRAPH Electronic Theater program. The high definition film not just presents spectacular action, but introduces complex characters as well as a deeply emotional tale. The core of the story is the unequal epic battle between the Imperial Army and the forces of Chaos.

Toolset: Maya, Syflex, Renderman, Mental Ray, Digital Fusion, Nuke, After Effects, Photoshop, BodyPaint, ZBrush, Unfold3D.

For Cinergi Interactive EP: Alex Rabb For Games Workshop Producer: Erik MogensenBlack library author: Gavin Thorpe For NAMCO BANDAI America Sr producer: Chris WrenProducer: Thomas Wu For Digic Pictures Creative producer: Gabor MarinovCG super: Robert KovacsAD: Peter FendrikCinematic advisor: Gabor Szabo, HSCCG: Laszlo Aszalos, Akos Haszon, Janos Orban, Karoly Porkolab, Kornel Ravadits, Tamas VargaAnimators: Gabor Horvath, Agoston PrinczTDs: Szabolcs Horvatth, Peter Kovacs, Andras TarsolyMocap: Hoselito DuricStunts: Gabor Balogh, Tamas GyongyossyTool development: Gabor Medinacz, Gabor TanaySystems admin: Gabor Kali Original music: Tim KellyOrchestra: Hungarian Film OrchestraSound designer: Attila Tozser


Butterfly Short Film 

Butterfly Short Film

Quad Prods. in Paris and their sister post house Wizz take a break from big-brand spots and long form production to help Quad director Stephane Levallois realize this elegant yet creepy short called Butterfly. Matthieu Poirier at Wizz says the biggest challenge of the project completed over seven weeks with a crew of two was translating Levallois sketches into four dimensions because, as he says, the director is drawing like a God. The delicate task of creating the 3D wings was handled by Paris-based ExVoto.

Toolset: Maya, Flame, Combustion.

For Quad Prods. DOP: Riego Van WerschEditors: France Husson, Dorian Rigalansous



Coca-Cola Happiness Factory 

Coca-Cola Happiness Factory

When W+K, Amsterdam pitched for the global Coke business last year one of the ideas they presented was a journey through a crazy factory inside a vending machine. After winning the coveted account in October of 2005 the agency began talking to animation production companies about the spot. Psyops presentation re-envisioned the original factory concept as a spectacular fantasy landscape populated by surreal characters an entire world instead of an interior. Once W+K had swallowed the Psyop Koolaid, CDs Hunter Hindman and Rick Condos sat down with co-directors Mueller and Matulick for a week to sketch out the wildest ideas they could come up with.

That was a really enjoyable process, says Matulick. Our visual premise was one of blending machinery and natural elements, within which we added all these exotic creatures performing their particular functions. Whats great about this kind of intense creative collaboration is that you end up going in directions youd never thought of before. From some initial ideas about a factory, we moved on to this insanely epic fantasy landscape. We suspended all rules of objective reality and focused on getting this bottle delivered in the most ridiculously large and crazy way possible. It was something of a free-for-all, but it was incredibly valuable in the end, because we discovered that the spot was more about all the characters than the factory process, and that was the key to its success. Read more details and interviews with the characters at Watch Behind the Scenes on the DVD.

Toolset: Maya, XSI, Flame, Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects.

For Wieden+Kennedy, Amsterdam CDs: Hunter Hindman, Rick CondosProducers: Darryl Hagans, Tom DunlapAssistant producer: Matt KendallECD: Al Moseley, John NormanEP: Tom Dunlap For Psyop Directors: Todd Mueller, Kylie MatulickEP: Justin Booth ClibbornProducer: Boo WongAssistant producer: Kate Phillips, Viet LuuFlame: Eben MearsLead 3D: Joe Burrascano3D animators: Kevin Estey, Josh Harvey, David Chontos, Jonathan Garin, David Lobser, Naomi Nishimura, Ylli Orana, Clay Budin, Chris Bach, Dylan Maxwell, Kyle Mohr, Miles Southan, Boris Ustaev, Dan VislockyModelers: Jaye Kim, Joon LeeStoryboard: Ben ChanMatte Painter: Dylan ColeEditor: Cass Vinini Music: HumanEP: Marc Altshuler Sound design: Amber Music & Sound DesignEP: Michelle CurranSound designer: Bill ChesleyProducer: Kate Gibson Audio post: Audio Engine


Axe/Lynx Millions 

Axe/Lynx Millions

When you think of Lynx deodorant do you think of the macho smelling anti-perspirant or do you think of gorgeous, pouting, scantily clad ladies? Everyone knows Lynx is all about the ladies. Lots and lots of ladies. Lynx campaigns have become legendary over the last few years with the brand picking up ten Cannes Lions amongst numerous other awards the pressure on any new ad is tremendous.

The Mill have just finished the post production on the new Lynx commercial Billions directed by Frederick Bond for BBH through MJZ. BBH wanted a commercial that would take the concept to the next level one which would add a wow factor never seen before and The Mill stepped up to the challenge.

The commercial was great fun to work on but threw up a number of challenges along the way. Tracking over water is difficult at the best of times and tracking swimmers over water from a moving helicopter was particularly tricky. As well as using their talented team, The Mill received some additional consultancy from software manufacturer, boujou for a joint effort in achieving the result. The shot was finally defeated by a combination of hand tracking and some expert boujou knowledge.

Toolset: Maya, XSI, Inferno, Massive, boujou, Shake.

For BBH CDs: Adrian Rossi, Alex GrieveProducer: Olly Chapman For MJZ Producer: Anna Hasmi For The MillProducer: Austen HumphriesLead Flame: Giles CheethamFlame: Mark Payne, Wes, Pheng Sisopha, Ian PlumbFlame assist: Mark PayneSmoke: James Pratt3D producer: Will OConnorMassive: Rick Walia, Eric Deltour, Diamid Harrison-MurrayModelers: Mario Ucci, Mikko Martikainen, Alex Hammond, Stefan Gertsheimer, Andrew Cadey3D tracker: Astrid Busser-CasasMatte painter: Dave GibbonsSpecial thanks: Elaine Ormes at boujouTelecine: Adam Scott



Coca-Cola Videogame 

Coca-Cola Videogame

Directing duo Smith & Foulkes of Nexus Prods., have given a striking a new slant on the violent world of computer games in a fully animated commercial for Coca-Cola. The commercial follows Ray, a menacing computer game tough guy. But following a swig of Coca-Cola we go with him on an unexpected rampage of love and kindness, rather than random violence and theft. Created in HD the fully computer animated commercial will be shown in cinemas from August 11th in the U.S. followed by television worldwide. It took 15 weeks to produce.

Smith & Foulkes, the directors, said, The script was a great opportunity to have a laugh at the expense of violent computer games. We asked ourselves the question What would happen if every street punk, gun-toting hood, tough-guy cop and perpetually terrorized innocent bystander all got together for a good sing-a-long?

It was important that the urban landscape resembled that of current computer games but we wanted the characters to have a wider range of emotion and expression. They are, after all, breaking out of their typical computer game behavior.

To get the end sequence right we worked with a choreographer and filmed dancers who interpreted the moves for individual characters. For the final chorus we both joined in too.

Toolset: Autodesk 3ds Max, Brazil. After Effects, Combustion.

For Wieden & Kennedy (Portland) Agency creatives: Sheena Brady and Shannon McGlothin Agency producer: Niki Polyocan For Nexus Prods. Ltd. Director: Smith & Foulkes Exec producer: Chris OReilly Head of production: Julia Parfitt Producer: Kara McCombe HD and Film Grade: Midnight Transfer Film Prints: Cinesite Sound Design: Amber Music

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Rick DeMott is the managing editor of Animation World Network. In his free time, he works as an animation writer for television. His work on the new series, Growing Up Creepie, can be seen of Discovery Kids, starting Sept. 9, 2006. Previously, he held various production and management positions in the entertainment industry. He is a contributor to the book Animation Art as well as the humor, absurdist and surrealist short story website Unloosen.

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Rick DeMott
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