Several MPC studios have teamed up with Shawn Levy of Anomaly and Pacific Rim Films to produce a new spot for DICK & # 39; S Sporting Goods. Following in the footsteps of last year's holiday campaign, the "lovable" animated sporty characters of the commercial are back to continue their adventure. This time the group escapes a DICK sporting goods distribution center, commands a delivery truck and drives to a boy's family home to deliver the gifts themselves.
The VFX work was directed from MPC's New York studio with support from LA, Bangalore and London and the MPC film team taking care of Previs. The MPC team was led by Animation Director Chris Bernier and Creative Director Anthony Bloor, and worked closely with Anomaly and Levy in a collaboration process that began long before filming began.
"This year we all focused on adding more character to the whole story," commented Bernier. “Anomaly, Pacific Rim Films and MPC worked together to come up with ideas during the editing process so that our animators could bring in as much action as possible to make the characters personable and entertaining, including kickflips, rail slides, fun runs and football kicks . ”
David Piombino, 2D supervisor added, “The biggest challenge in recreating CG, which is also in place, is that you have to be incredibly accurate. During the shoot, we made ourselves aware of this and photographed elements of the actual products as substitutes. The director, agency and set crew understood our process very well and this gave us a wonderful hint to agree with and lead us to our bottom line. "
The team has revived many of the characters from last year's DICK & # 39; S Sporting Goods resort to serve as supportive members of the group. The main cast for this year's spot includes updated versions of the hoodie, skateboard, and ping pong paddles from last year's spot, as well as new characters like the fitness weights and soccer ball.
MPC's VFX and animation were once again key to bringing these objects to life while allowing them to express emotions without using human features or expressions. Anthony Bloor, MPC Creative Director, said, “Every character – original and new – has been updated to improve their performance even further this year. There was more emphasis on reading more emotionally and becoming more humorous, so each character had to adopt very specific poses in order for us to master the emotional connection. Technically, this meant building new animation rigs or finding new ways to simulate the cloth in cases like the hoodie where we also used our famous fur system to recreate the fibers of the material to give it a realistic cloth effect . "
“The biggest challenge with an animated campaign like this is to find the very good balance of a believable photo-real product that also has a funny, personable character,” Bernier continued. “We rely on traditional animation principles like squash and stretch to build character and fluid movement, but we need to make sure we don't push too far into a cartoon feel. Lighting, texturing, shading, and simulating the characters adds a lot of credibility, but makes for a fun performance to avoid the risk of feeling hollow or lifeless. "
While many of the characters were the same this year, one big difference with the new campaign was its creation during a pandemic. A physical shoot was in person with socially distant security logs, while MPC interacted with Anomaly and Levy remotely to go over the animated shots together via joint review sessions. Although different, the process went smoothly and communication went smoothly. "It's been a pleasure to work with Pacific Rim, Shawn and the Anomaly team again," concluded Bernier. "They bring an excitement, creativity, and collaborative spirit that allows work to really shine."
Agency – Anomaly NY
Production Manager – Chad Hopenwasser
Agency producer – Carrie Lewis
Executive Creative Director – Seth Jacobs
Creative Directors – Bryce Cline, Jeremy Straight
Music producer – Ben Dorenfeld
Production Company – Pacific Rim Films
Director – Shawn Levy
DP – Stuart Dryburgh
Executive producer – Annie Johnson
Production Manager / Managing Partner – Bryan Mitchell
Line Producer – Melissa Murphy
VFX and color:
VFX and Color – MPC
Animation Director – Chris Bernier
Creative Director – Anthony Bloor
Executive producer – Matthew Loranger
Producers – Sally Wnek, Sandra Eklund
Production Coordinator – Stephen Dierks
3D Leads – Mike Lombardo, Fernando Tortosa
2D Leads – David Piombino, Mike Simons
Colorist – Vincent Taylor
VFX Shoot Supervisors – Jessie Amadio, Dan Fine and Vadim Turchin
Animation team – Jacob Fradkin, Ross Scroble, Andrew Boccio, Anthony Travieso, Andy Reid and James Bown
Lighting team – Roberto Maki, Lucy Choi, Mattias Lullini, Ash Yee and Emily Griswold
Rigging – Maximilian Mallmann, Amar Chundavadra, Navin Pinto, Gretchen Asmar, Garlapati Yeswanth
Modeling – Jemmy Molero, Vignesh Sivakumar, Vinutha A. R., Selva Kumar K., Smruti Prabhakar Satpute, Manjunath R., Shashi Kumar S.
FX – Emre Sumer
Assets – Deepali Negi, Palash Ramnaresh Soni, Shreyas Joshi, Sandeep Grover, Vivek Mayanglambam, Sumitha D, Harshitha V V.
Persecution – Elangovan Ganeshan, Ganesh Kumar Selvarajan, Ashwin Mahajan, Konduru Achiraju, Sathya Narayanan, Nishant Ekka, Muruganantham T., Shridhar Bhat, Avaneetharan Karuppasamy, Karthick Ks
2D team – Mazyar Sharifian, Thiago Porto, Josh Parks, David Filipe, Esther Song, Yashvardhan Jain, Akula Srikanth, Udaykiran Chowdary, Anand Swain, George Gijo Peter, Saravanan D., Aginesh KM, Arulanandhan P., Bijeesh KU, Padmapriya K.
DMP – Bakiyaraj P., Joyett Granfred Fernandes, Winnie Sharma, Mudraboina Vamsi Krishna, Srinivas Achary
Additional production support – Zahid Khan, Nisha Pawar, Gaurav Joshi, Anshul Gattani
Previs – MPC film
Previs Supervisor – Joshua Lange
Previous artists – Dave McMahon, Xavier Coton, Hannah Addington, Simon Halpern
Visualization Manager – Patrick Smith
Visualization producer – Mary Loibl
Production manager – Kristin Aasen
Visualization coordinator – Jing Marshall, Maximilian Reid
Art Director – Leandre Lagrange
Concept artist – Svetlana Kudakova
Art Department Producer – Maryanne Pittman
Edit Company – Arcade
Editor – Jeff Ferruzzo
Assistant – Laurel Metzler
Producer – Ellen Lavery
Editor – arcade editing
Partner / EP – Sila Soyer
Audio – honeymix
Mixer – Eric Thompson
EP – Mary Tomasiewicz
Chuck Berry "Run Rudolph Run"
Human "Christmas robbery"
Composer – Thomas Keery
Creative Director – Morgan Visconti
Senior Producer – Craig Caniglia
Executive producer – James Wells
Dan Sarto is the Editor and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.