Initially developed as the 'World of More' print campaign for Petro, this spot was a chance to bring all the stills work we had collaborated on with agency TBWA into full-heeled motion. Beyond that, this piece was also hugely exciting for our team as it affirmed to us that we've legitimately arrived in the spellbinding world of 3D character animation!
We had been developing and working with these characters for quite some time and even made the full 3D print models of some of the characters with the studio MakerBot. It's rewarding to see each character's personality jolted to life, and now we're bursting with ideas for new scenarios and visual adventures to involve them in.
As per usual, one of the biggest tricks was to pack it all into a :30s timeframe. It's a deceptively hard-working spot. First, we needed to ensure the core Petro points and savings message was loud and clear (points cards delivered on miniature parachutes). Then it was a challenge to make sure each of the characters had their 'moment' and individual journey that would convey a sense of Canada, coast to coast. It was also a fun challenge to figure out what small bits of comedy and personality we could squeeze in. The lively beavers who recreate the famous scene from Titanic on Mr. Goodman's kayak and Sanjay's awesomely robust hairdo are definitely a couple of the studio's favourites.
On a technical level, this was our second project integrating Maya for character animation into our core 3DSMax / Vray pipeline. We ended up using Alembic to cache and exchange data to and from the animation team. It took some figuring out at the outset, but once we had an established workflow things went smoothly and it was possible to update animation and do finalizing / quality control passes quite late into the process.
Our team has had no classical character animation schooling, so the development of our character skills and pipeline have long been an experimental process for us, not unlike a science laboratory. It's an endeavour that's been driven by pure passion for quite some time. We hope you enjoy this hugely fulfilling culmination of hard work, learning, and devotion. And hopefully the piece rewards you a few chuckles while watching it, too ;)
Don Embree, Bart Smith
Sarah Quinto, Julia Forrester
Chris Bahry, Alexandre Torres
Mary Anne Ledesma, Suzy Bradshaw
Storyboard & Animatic:
Olov Burman, Christina Sidoti
Vini Nascimento, Ben Pilgrim, Rowan Simpson, Marcin Porebski
Brad Husband, Rowan Simpson
Lighting & Render:
Steve Manz of Relish Editing