Radio Shack Santa GPS or what happens if he doesn’t have one…

A long suffering Santa tries his best to deliver Christmas gifts to the world while Rudolph and the reindeer team go round and round in circles unable to find their way.

This darling little Christmas ad for Radio Shack has a crinkled paper, stop motion look and feel with a sweet Christmas musical score and some very funny copy – given a brilliant delivery.

Hey, it’s not often you can say that the voice over for a spot you’re working on is priceless but the V/O in this ad is just so great we cracked up the entire time we were in production.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Mercedes-Benz SLR 300 is Out of This World.

The Mercedes-Benz SLR 300 is a machine like no other – sleek, sensual and legendary – the ultimate in bling. Not just the fastest production car in the whole world – with a top speed of 207 MPH – but a veritable goddess among luxury automobiles. In fact a possession so indulgent it’s positively out of this world.

So while the star of the spot is the McLaren SLR 300 undoubtedly the star of Little Fluffy Clouds studio is our creative + animation director, Jerry van de Beek, who modeled the car using available photographs only and without the aid of any factory specifications or a cad cam version. Working with partner, Betsy de Fries, the two designed and directed the spot together. Van de Beek animated the entire piece – writing specialized shaders, applying final gathering techniques, rendering complex layers and compositing the piece in After Effects. VFX extras were skillfully actualized to create a look as luxurious as the car itself.

Out of this World is an original spot designed, directed and animated by Little Fluffy Clouds. Production took roughly 8 weeks – sans model. This sizzling all CGI spot is animated in Maya, composited in After Effects and rendered with Mental Ray. The stunning VFX extras use Real Viz, Trap Code and Sapphire plug-ins.

LFC creates – The Car and The Road for Lexus

The Car and The Road: A Romance in Automation follows the trials and tribulations of a sensible, straight road as he seeks to reinvent himself for the car he loves. Watch in awe as The Road bears his soul, along with his inner passionate self, to woo the fun loving and flirtatious Lexus – “that can do things other cars only dream about…” Sigh…a romance in automation for the modern era.

This charming work, directed by Jerry van de Beek and Betsy de Fries of Little Fluffy Clouds, was created for the Lexus Car Corporation. Described by the Association Internationale du Film d’Animation (ASIFA) as, “A lovely animated fable…” The Car and The Road pays homage to and takes its inspiration from Chuck Jones’ Oscar winning film, The Dot and The Line.

Original composition for this almost 4 minute film was scored by Trivers-Meyers Music whose arrangement fits hand in glove with the visuals. Commissioned by Los Angeles ad agency, Team One, The Car and The Road, is a colorful and imaginative feast for the eyes and fun to boot!

Animated using Adobe Illustrator, After Effects and Photoshop with Autodesk Maya and hand drawn frames. The Car and The Road will be seen on all broadcast media: Cinema, TV and Web.

Un Reve Français the 9th Elektra International Digital Arts Festival

I am an unabashed Francophile. SO imagine how happy I was to hear that our short film, TODAY, was being featured not only at Festival NEMO in Paris but also at the 9th Elektra International Digital Arts Festival in Montreal. Deux Reve Français – if I may make make so free with the Franglaise.

The mandate of ACREQ is to forge links between electronic music and other visual media. Here at Elektra you can immerse yourself in the latest aesthetic currents in artistic practice with new technologies at their core. The Elektra refuses to be restrained by the boundaries created by many so schools and styles in our field. It is their mission to promote only the highest quality work. Robotics, digital imagery and music come together. Added to this fertile mix is a genuine desire to attract a wider audience, to democratize and make this culture more accessible – while also satisfying the specialists in attendance with more specific interests.

This high-calibre Montreal-based cultural initiative, presents artists and works of art that align the latest electronic music and visual creations derived from new technologies (animation, installation and robotics). Elektra unites creative media like music, video, cinema, design, gaming and audio or interactive installation with the latest digital technologies. Artists from all disciplines – composition, performance, dance, visual arts et al all with a common interest in artistic applications of new technologies – uniting visual with sound. Elektra not only welcomes artists from all over the world, the festival also features local talents, helping make Montreal the North American meeting place for digital arts. Our best wishes for a successful festival! We only wish we could be there.

Elektra 9e Edition International Digital Arts Festival Mai 7 – 11, Montreal, Quebec. Enjoy the blog and the live festival site at: http://www.elektramontreal.ca/

Emru Townsend’s Bone Marrow Drive. It’s easy – it’s just a swab.

Help save a life. Who could say no? Anyone who knows me will have heard me rave about my animation super hero, Emru Townsend, editor extraordinaire of Frames Per Second Magazine. which IMHO is one of the net’s best animation zine/blogs. You’ve heard me extol his virtues in running FPS, be entertained by his diverse pod casts, swoon at his dulcet tones and revere his skills at holding down a heavy hitting job, keep a young family happy, and in his spare time chair the SIGGRAPH 2008 Computer Animation Festival. I am unashamedly one of his greatest fans. So, it won’t come as any surprise to you if I make this a very personal appeal to your higher selves.

Emru has Leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant – not sometime in the future – but now. His nearest and dearest are sadly not a match so he is relying on outside donors. We are asking you to help us encourage members of the animation community and others to join a bone marrow registry. You – or someone you know – may be the match Emru is hoping for.
Because tissue types are inherited, patients are more likely to match someone from their own race or ethnicity. As an Afro-Caribbean, Emru Townsend will be most likely to match other donors of African or Caribbean decent. So please urge anyone in your circle with this racial background to participate – send them this info in an email.You will be added to the registry and hopefully you will be a match for someone who needs your donation. On any given day, more than 6,000 men, women and children are searching the National Marrow Donor Program Registry for a life-saving donor like you. These patients have leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases that can be treated by a bone marrow or cord blood transplant. For many of these patients, a transplant may be the best and only hope of a cure.

It’s easy. It’s just a swab. In the US, registering is as easy as filling out a form, signing your name to make a commitment, and swabbing your mouth 4 times. Go to this URL, sign up on-line and receive a swab kit in the mail, or check the dates and addresses of the swab collections in your area: http://www.marrow.org/HELP/Join_the_Donor_Registry/index.html. Follow along in the adventures of Emru at: http://www.healemru.com/

Little Fluffy Clouds wins a Silver Creativity Award for TODAY

The colorful studio’s short, TODAY, commissioned by Sundance for their Billy Collins Action Poetry series, has won a silver Creativity Award in the Consumer TV category. With more than 2700 entries from 37 countries, judges declared that:

“The winning entries stand out because of their ambition, strong communication, and excellent design.”

The 400-page Creativity Awards Annual, is a veritable bible of excellent design and is published by Harper and Collins.

This Sundance Channel promotional film, commissioned in association with JWT NYC, was directed by Little Fluffy Clouds’ creative team, Jerry van de Beek and Betsy de Fries. The film is an animated poem and is written by US Poet Laureate, Billy Collins. The poem is from his Nine Horses collection. Mr. Collins narrates the animation.

TODAY Screens at Landmark as part of SFIAF

The San Francisco Film Society describes animation as being:

“Currently one of the most fertile, creative and productive forms in cinema and television… animation occupies a unique point between artistic, experimental, commercial and industrial media, ranging from the latest visual FX-based arthouse films to family-friendly cartoons.”

Such is the clarion call to join the San Francisco International Animation Festival, and us, in a lively and surprising animation celebration screening at San Francisco’s Landmark Theater.

TODAY, a Sundance Channel promotional film commissioned in association with JWT NYC as part of their, Billy Collins Animated Poetry series, was directed by Little Fluffy Clouds creative team, Jerry van de Beek and Betsy de Fries. The film is an animated poem written by US Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, who narrates the piece.

Little Fluffy Clouds Sundance short, TODAY, screens  as part of the festival’s, Makers Dozen. This lively festival can be seen at the Embarcadero Center Cinema in San Francisco.

www.sffs.org for details.

Little Fluffy Clouds, TODAY, shows at The Art of Digital Show

Little Fluffy Clouds, Sundance studio short, TODAY, is one of the innovative pieces showing at, The Art of Digital Show, a unique international exhibition featuring all forms of digital art. The public is invited to the Opening Reception Gala and Awards Ceremony on October 6th at the Lyceum Theater Gallery, in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. The Art of Digital Show runs through November.

Neal Benezra, director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), fielded 104 pieces to be exhibited from 2796 entries submitted by artists representing 40 countries. Mr. Benezra selected works which embody imagination, original vision, sophistication, message, content, creativity and technical skill. The show includes 83 fine art pieces, 18 video art pieces, a 3D modeled sculpture, a digitally designed textile piece, and an amazing interactive piece – all of which create a distinct exhibition environment.

“Digital artists are pushing the boundaries and more directly expressing what is in their imagination than in any other art medium. Our great love of this art form drives us to create a truly excellent presentation of digital art from around the world. Our goal is to elevate and promote digital art and to provide substantial benefits to the exhibiting artists.”

~ Steven Churchill, curator and founder of the event.

An estimated 1500 people, including most of the exhibiting artists, will attend the opening gala, and 20,000 people are expected to view The Art of Digital Show during the five-week run. A free 72-page show catalog will be available during the exhibit, featuring all of the selected images.

TODAY, is a Sundance Channel promotional film commissioned in association with ad agency, JWT NYC, as part of their, Billy Collins Animated Poetry series. It was directed by Little Fluffy Clouds‘ creative team, Jerry van de Beek and Betsy de Fries. The film is an animated poem. It is taken from the collection, Nine Horses, written by US Poet Laureate, Billy Collins. Mr. Collins narrates the film.

See: http://www.artofdigitalshow.com for details.

Win Big at the Barnyard in American Idol Auditions for CO Lottery

In a candid, behind-the-scenes look at the barnyard American Idol auditions for TV, seven barnyard characters try their luck, and win – or lose – in a big way. The nonchalant Goat sweeps past us, the broken hearted Cow sobs at the door, Speak to the hand!, gestures the disappointed Duck, leaving us in no uncertain terms about how he feels.

But four lucky critters – the Bunny, the Rooster, the Prairie Dog and the Pig – make it on to the Colorado Lottery scratch card. And they jump, strut, scoot and fly before their eager friends and family, captured by the exit camera. In, AUDITIONS, it’s ee-i-ee-i-dough indeed!

AUDITIONS was created by Little Fluffy Clouds director, Jerry van de Beek, using the studio’s now signature 2D/3D combination of Autodesk Maya with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. After Effects was used to composite. Audio completed in Adobe Audition.

LFC’s Betsy de Fries presents Adobe Design Achievement Award

On Thursday evening at the de Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the Adobe Design Achievement Awards were held. I was most honored to be asked to present the award for best animation. When you are face to face with all those young, hopeful things, sitting together in little groups – daring not to dream but not being able to help it – you’re honestly amazed at the raw talent of it all. Every category chock full of imaginative, interesting, smart thinking projects, by students from all over the world. One of the things I stressed to the students was the need to make, and keep, as many contacts in the industry as they possible could. Also to make the most of this unique moment provided by Adobe. You look at their work and can’t help but feel good about the future of our industry as well as being cheered by the prospect of following them through the course of their careers, which I’m sure will be illustrative.

The three finalists in the animation category, Axel Brotje, representing the Braunschweig University of Art, Johnny Kelly, from The Royal College of Art in London, and Sean Monahan, of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, each produced excellent short films. All were diverse in look and theme, yet each one was arresting, unique, stimulating to the senses and of the highest professional quality. All of these young men have bright futures ahead of them.

Fische und Schiffe by Axel Brotje was the winner. Axel is a charming, unassuming young man from a small town in Germany. He was, I think, fairly blindsided by his win which made it all the more poignant. Making the most of this opportunity to be here in California, he got up early the next morning and made his way to SIGGRAPH.

On a side note, I was impressed by the fact that, for services rendered, Adobe donated 10 licenses to each judge for them to choose a worthy recipient organization. The judges worked extremely hard sifting through thousands of entries from more than 30 countries and made the awards the great success they undoubtedly were.

Take some time to look not only at the animations, now on Adobe’s site, but also at the other categories of this exceptionally interesting competition.

See: http://www.adobe.com/education/adaa/winners//