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!

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.

Journey – A Watercolor Painting Comes to Life.

Most of us look back at our time spent at university with true fondness – a time of amazing achievement and pivotal moments unsurpassed by any other. A time when dreams become aspirations and aspirations become reality and every second is shared with friends made – ones that we carry with us for the rest of our lives. This is the story of Journey, a 30-second HDTV commercial and the first in a campaign for the California University of Pennsylvania.

Executed in an elegant painterly style, Journey, combines both 2D and 3D animation to recreate the texture and layered look of a traditional watercolor painting. In this watercolor world, one in which we can freely move around, the story unfolds of a student’s journey through life. Beginning with a single brush stroke on textured paper the river of life is revealed depicting two friends in a rowboat. As the canvas blooms into vibrant color the two friends begin to move through the university campus. Casually meeting up with another friend, together, they enter into the pulse of university life.

Effortlessly the camera moves us gently back to gradually orbit around the characters and in an echo of the story, allows us to fully take in both the pastoral scene laid before us, with students going about their day, and the effect of the growing color palette as it washes over the canvas to create vivid momentary and fleeting glimpses of the campus in all its diversity. A gentle pull out, up through a canopy of trees, moves us skyward like a soaring bird over the rooftops of the buildings to lay the entire campus before us.

The campus, characters and shaders were created in Maya. The animation was created in multiple layers finessed in After Effects. Compositing was undertaken in-house at Little Fluffy Clouds.