Gold Awards and More for MDSX Missing Person

Created from just three still images, this latest spot for Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center is a tour de force of creative thinking coupled with incredibly skillful animation and effects.

Missing Person tells the story in first person of the tenacious courage of three amazing people, Kirk, Christine and Cemmy, and their individual fight to survive cancer with the help of Connecticut’s Middlesex Hospital.

Creatively we opted for an ultra slow motion, weightless feel to emphasize the sensitivity surrounding the subject and to capture the triumph of survival. Juxtapose this with fast moving, beautiful and innovative VFX used here to illustrate the amazing power of the medical technology used to bring about this result.

Part of a continuing campaign, Missing Person, took top honors at the 2014 Advertising Club of Connecticut. The campaign swept no fewer than 8 gold awards. Later the same month the Connecticut Art Directors Club gave it their order of excellence – a nice moment of recognition.

Created and animated in Adobe After Effects. VFX extras use Real Viz, Trap Code and Sapphire plug-ins.

Note from a Judge on MDSH Common Thread Campaign

We’ve written before about the Middlesex Hospital, Common Thread, TV spot. You’ve heard me talk about how tradition embraces modern technology and infuses both with humanity. All of which is the essence and simple truth of this campaign.

Over the year since the ad first aired the spot was entered into a number of award shows. One after another the spot and it’s online media adjuncts won or placed each time. However, it’s not often that you get to hear exactly what the judges think of your work but just this one time we did.

The quote here comes from, Jason Carreiro, speaking for the judges of the 2013 Connecticut Art Directors Club Awards.

Hospital and healthcare advertising tends to be fairly predictable — smiling patients and doctors in pristine hospital rooms with a reassuring voice-over and a tasteful piano soundtrack. The Middlesex Hospital TV spot surprised me with it’s bold execution. The beautiful, high-contrast animation and swirling, vibrant colors have an immediate wow-factor that forces the viewer to sit up and take notice.
The campaign narrative, The Smarter Choice for Care, speaks to the fact that Middlesex Hospital does things differently — embracing new technologies and ways of thinking about medicine and patient care. The design execution supports that claim perfectly. The spot is a wonderful example of how a creative execution can really make a concept sing.

Common Thread took the Connecticut Art Directors Club, Judges Award, plus three more Gold awards. Later that same year the commercial took three Gold Awards at the Advertising Club of Connecticut and was a finalist in the 2013 Global Awards. All of which made our hearts sing at a job well done.

Retin-A Micro – Exceedingly Good!

Creating interesting imagery for complex medical applications is no easy task. There are strict FDA guidelines to adhere to, seemingly insurmountable regulations and a plethora of almost incomprehensible technical language to distill into copy that can be easily understood by your fellow human being – or as our copy writer would say: Exceedingly hard!

But it can be done if you’re lucky enough to find a client that believes in their product enough to allow it to stand out from the crowd. “Let it be engaging and entertaining…” while getting the message across, was the brief.

In, Retin-A Micro, we take the viewer on a journey through a stylized creation of the product and illustrate, in a technical way, just how and why the product works. And it really does. Some things are magic and some things are just pure science at work.

Created as a video wall installation in Autodesk Maya, RETIN-A Micro, joins the Little Fluffy Clouds lexicon of award winners. The production received an Honorable Mention at the 2011 CLIO HEALTHCARE AWARDS and also captured an Award of Excellence at the 2012 RX CLUB AWARDS. So, we concur, Exceedingly Good!

Middlesex Hospital where Tradition meets Technology

Tradition embraces modern technology, infusing both with humanity. That’s the simple truth of, Common Thread, a campaign for, Middlesex Hospital Group, a group so confident of their mandate they could step outside the expected, both in the services they offer and the design they endorse.

Hand drawn, tinted illustrations on aged textured paper is the foundation of Medicine. In centuries gone by and still today they are used with great success to explain new and breakthrough technologies in the medical sciences. These illustrations evoke a feeling of tradition, one that speaks also to the very best of doctor-patient relationships. It’s these traditions that are symbolic of the human touch we all crave when being cared for at a time when we feel at our most vulnerable. In the modern world we also rely on the latest of technologies, placing our trust in the hands of state of the art equipment and expertly trained physicians to eradicate all illnesses and restore us to our healthy selves. This is the mission of a successful hospital group.

In, Common Thread, we seek to embody the very idea of tradition and humanity and weave it into the design style. To add the new to the tried and true and echo that message, creating the dynamic, appealing, all encompassing story of the Middlesex Hospital Group and how it can be the common thread between you and a healthful, long life.

The camera takes us on an upward journey through a series of water color blooms and live action vignettes, where we move, both literally and metaphorically, from a medical treatment to connect, via the common thread, to a place of restored health, a place where a person can fully resume the enjoyment of life. It’s an elegant story with a strong message supported by powerful graphics.

See this :30 second commercial, and its accompanying :15, together with the concurrent media an digital campaign, on the east coast from April.

Billy Collins Reads Animated Poetry for TED and NPR

Proud to have been Poet Laureate, America’s most accessible poet, Billy Collins, reads poems from his Nine Horses collection in this animated talk for TED – Every Day Moments Caught in Time. Using five of the twelve animated poems New York agency JWT commissioned for their client, Sundance Channel, as his backdrop, Mr. Collins strides the stage in his usual comfortable down home way and charms the crowd to their feet with his wry suggestive tone.

When you get a poem [in a public place], it happens to you so suddenly that you don’t have time to deploy your anti-poetry deflector shields that were installed in high school.

~ Billy Collins: Everyday Moments, Caught in Time.

If you are even an occasional listener to NPR his is a voice you will recognize immediately and if you are not do yourself a favor and watch and listen to these poems – and you will see why Billy Collins has been credited with the accolade of bringing poetry to the masses.

TODAY, was one of the twelve Billy Collins poems chosen by JWT to be animated. Unharnessed from the usual client restraint the agency gave full unfettered creative freedom to their appointed animation studios. We count ourselves fortunate to be amongst them. In many ways the project was a watershed moment for us at Little Fluffy Clouds – it gave us the chance to do things differently – see for yourself.

You can see the entertaining Mr. Collins’ TED talk here: and see all the animated poems in the line-up here: Billy Collins Action Poetry. Listen to NPR’s TED Radio Hour here: A treat for the ears, a feast for the eyes.


Chicago Public Radio features TODAY on Mission Amy KR’s blog

At Little Fluffy Clouds we’re always thrilled when one of our more cerebral projects is plucked from the archives, dusted off and given some national attention. So, we were more than pleased when our animated, Billy Collins poem, TODAY, was featured by Chicago Public Radio as part of their poetry awareness month. The former poet laureate was interviewed and read some of his favorite poems from the collection, Nine Horses.

This tiny nugget of literary appreciation came courtesy of Chicago blogger and WBEZ radio host, Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Her program and associated blog, Mission Amy KR, is brought to you from the same folks that bring you, This American Life. Here’s what Amy had to say:

Just when I thought Billy Collins’ poetry couldn’t possibly get any better, this comes along. I’d rather not taint your experience with unnecessary intros and blabbing. So here, just enjoy: Billy Collins Action Poetry (And let me know if you were able to stop at one, or if you simply had to watch them all.)

So, thanks Amy for the mention – we’re in some stellar company there! You can read her blog, see all the animated poems and support the station right here: Go ahead fund the arts but first watch this!


LFC is doused with Platinum PIXIE dust

Imagine the incredible surprise of being awarded not just one, but two, platinum Pixel Academy Pixies. Well, that was the news around here this morning. Making the win super sweet is the knowledge that these awards are judged by our fellow animators and VFX artists. High praise indeed.

First up, with a 9.7 score, was Power of Sound, itself an interesting take on the character of sound. This traditional 2D animation uses origami to illustrate the narrative whilst skillfully synthesizing that imagery with CG models to underscore the use of technology in sound applications today. The sampans, water, moon, ocean and skies are created using only particles and projected lights and are not models. The “waveform” is also particle based but here movement is initiated by the music. VFX, using plug-ins, comprise the transitions. The origami horses, boats, kites and cranes are all 2D as is the floating text and the Golden Ratio shell animations. The larger shell in that scene is it’s 3D counterpart. Here’s what the judges had to say:

“A very powerful creative work. Imagery is very strong, created by excellent animation.”

Next up, with a 9.2 score, was CALU Built, which like it’s companion piece, Journey, is a veritable kaleidoscope of images, beautifully layered together in 2D and 3D. These stunning Super Bowl spots combine hand-drawn imagery with CGI to recreate the textured and layered look of a traditional watercolor painting – one that breathes life into the canvas. Built scored 9.2 and here the judges said:

“A very well done animation with very realistic body movements. Good job!”

Winning the Pixies does feel like a good job indeed. So, well done us!

Power of Sound and the Subconscious Moment.

A rising moon, a star-lit sky, a gentle ocean of drifting Sampans, brightly colored fish, tumultuous waves, origami paper boats, prancing horses, soaring kites, folding cranes; all moving in a carousel and dancing through a landscape peppered with eye catching VFX. Set this to a powerful soundtrack and this exploration is the Power of Sound.

Using simple animation accompanied by programmed expressions, Power of Sound, is an interesting take on the character of sound. The animation, running at just over a minute, is a pretty good example of a mostly 2D piece using 3D cameras in 2D space, coupled with occasional CG models to underscore the use of technology in sound applications.

The sampans, water, moon, ocean and background skies are made of particles and projected lights. So, not modeled. The “waveform” is also particle based with movement initiated by the soundtrack. VFX, using plug-ins, comprise the transitions. The origami horses, boats, kites and cranes are all 2D, as is the floating text and the “Golden Ratio” shell animations. The larger shell in that scene is it’s 3D counterpart.

There are moments in the life of an animation when the subconscious takes over – even in a commercial. And so it was here. Power of Sound became less about the technology and the message and more of an artistic response to the shock of the Japanese earthquake and the resultant tragedy. An homage in a way to the Japanese people and a small story about the lifting and triumph of the spirit in such dark moments.

Software: AFX, Trapcode, Sapphire and Maya.

LFC Breathes Life into a Moving Painting for CALU Superbowl Spot

Blue sketches appear on a painted canvas. The spokes of a bicycle wheel spin. Singular watercolor images emerge from the framework of an underpainting – that gives way to richly textured architecture and foliage. A student rides forward weaving a tapestry of imagery as the campus of the California University of Pennsylvania reveals itself before his wheels. Ever advancing buildings grow from the imagined to the constructed.

This is the story of Built, a 30-second spot, the second in a continuing integrated campaign of broadcast TV, web, print and radio crafted for the CALU by Pittsburgh agency, Dymun + Company.

Built, like it’s companion piece, Journey, is a veritable kaleidoscope of images beautifully layered together. 2D and 3D animation are combined with hand drawn imagery to recreate the textured and layered look of a traditional watercolor painting. In a spectacular display of animating genius, LFC’s Jerry van de Beek, breathes life into this moving painting.

In Built the camera moves forward with the main character creating the campus as he rides towards the new Convocation Center which makes it’s debut in October 2011. The effect of the growing color palette, as it washes over the canvas to create vivid moments and fleeting glimpses of the campus, is nothing less than stunning. Once more a gentle pullout transports us skyward, like a serenely gliding plane, over the rooftops of new and older buildings to lay the entire campus before us and cradle us in the crook of the river bend.

The campus, characters and shaders were created in Maya. The animation created in multiple layers and finessed using After Effects. Compositing, color correction and post was handled in-house at Little Fluffy Clouds. Built, airs on the east coast from January 2011 including Super Bowl XLV.

Unbranded for UTA wins a 2010 Silver Telly Award

Unbranded, already a multi-award winning spot for agency Lipman Hearne and the University of Texas at Arlington, has just won another gong. This time a Silver Telly Award in the “Non-Traditional” category. While we’re not too sure exactly what that category is, given the maverick quality of the spot and it’s Unbranded attitude, we think that’s very fitting.

So, it’s all smiles here on the west coast at Little Fluffy Clouds and down south at UTA. See this larger than life commercial play at the Dallas Cowboy’s Stadium on the 17 story high Mitsubishi jumbotron – the largest TV screen in the world – and prepare to be WOWED by the accompanying stadium ribbons that wrap around the stadium while you watch your team play.

Unbranded and non-traditional – a winner in every sense of the word. Yes, Ma’am!