Search form

R!OT Crafts VFX for Masters of the Universe Commercial

Utilizing a cinematic approach, R!OT Santa Monica recently set the scene for a new 30-second TV spot promoting two Master of the Universe action figures. He-Man and Skeletor, part of Mattel's new toy line, trade swords and spears in a fantasy fight sequence set on a dusty plain under crimson skies. Conceived by Young & Rubicam, Irvine, the high-energy spot invites kids to "live the ultimate battle."

The purpose of the spot is to contemporize the Masters of the Universe brand, which has been around since the 1980s a lifetime in the toy business but has recently undergone a revival in popularity. "We wanted to push beyond whats been done in other ads for other action figures," explains Young & Rubicam copywriter Eric Kamaguchi. "We decided on a cinematic approach, similar to a trailer for an action film."

The toys, which measure only a few inches in height, were shot using microphotographic technique on a miniature set representing a rugged desert environment. R!OT visual effects artist Kiki Chansamone completed the scene by creating the forbidding sky the rings the battle scene. "The sky needed to be partially three-dimensional to match the perspective and rotational changes in the live action," Chansamone says. "We layered 18 elements to form the sky and enhanced it with fire, smoke and rock plates."

"The fire, clouds and smoke greatly enhanced the fantasy section of the spot," adds Young & Rubicam art director Fernando Del Rosario. "Our whole perspective with this spot was to think like young boys and imagine what they would like to see. The dramatic battle scene exceeded our best expectations."

Animator Hans Payer created a 3D model of He-Mans sword, used as a transitional element. It cuts through the frame, reflecting the menacing shape of Skeletors face.

R!OT Santa Monica, R!OT Manhattan and R!OT Atlanta are subsidiaries of Ascent Media Group, Inc. For more, check out

Bill Desowitz's picture

Bill Desowitz, former editor of VFXWorld, is currently the Crafts Editor of IndieWire.