Blur Studio recently completed a ten-spot series of commercials for Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers via Young & Rubicam, NY. The campaign is entirely computer generated and was directed by Blur Leo Santos.
This work represents the campaign fourth season featuring the adventurous animated Goldfish characters, and is the first time the campaign presents a progressive story arc spanning 10 commercials. At the end of Season 3, ‘Gilbert’ is separated from his friends when he gets sucked up by a vacuum cleaner. Season 4 is dominated by the search for Gilbert by his Goldfish pals.
‘We selected Blur for Season 4 because we wanted an entire season of episodic spots with a cinematic look and feel. Blur definitely delivered and treated our commercials as they would a film or television project, with film-quality animation, environments and nuanced performances,’ said Salima Millott, content producer, Young & Rubicam, NY. ‘Blur is not only incredibly creative, but are also just great people to work with.’
The first spot, ‘Blast Off,’ debuts this week, and takes the Goldfish gang on a paper airplane ride out from under the bed in search of their lost friend. New spots revealing twists in the Goldfish mystery are set to drop every six weeks. This story arc represents the first time in the campaign in which the Goldfish characters explore new environments as they voyage out from under the bed and engage in action-packed antics that include flying down a staircase, going for a spin on a cuckoo clock and playing chase with a hound dog.
Said Al Shier, Blur Executive Producer, ‘A big part of the mission with Season 4 was to create an entirely new experience with more filmic quality, experimenting with lighting, depth of field and camera moves to engage audiences and immerse them in this animated world.’
Blur animation team worked on this campaign for a year, which included three months of pre-production and nine months of animation. Leo Santos directed the commercials and served as animation supervisor while Dan Rice worked as art director/CG supervisor.
‘Each Goldfish character has a distinct personality, from exuberant to adventurous, and the animation really brought them to life. It was important that each could be expressive in close-up shots and they needed to talk and emote with believability. We worked very carefully on the character rigging, color and textures to give them a lifelike feel,’ shared Santos.
“To help define the world in which these characters lived, we used a variety of editorial tricks to draw the audience into each adventure,’ stated Rice. ‘Micro lens photography brought the audience up close and personal to the characters and building an entirely CG world gave us great flexibility. Color and light also helped drive the story throughout their journey. Rich textures, realistic materials and environments made the final sophisticated touches to give top-notch production value to the whole campaign.”
Blur animation team is well versed in character animation, having completed multiple film, television, commercial and game projects. In the Goldfish spots, Autodesk Softimage was used for character animation and modeling; environments and effects were completed using Autodesk 3ds Max. NVIDIA mental ray was used to render the spots and bring in cinematic lighting effects.
Blur Studio is an Oscar- and Emmy-nominated production studio based in Venice, California. Founded in 1995, the company provides award-winning animation, effects and design for a wide range of media ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® short films, large format films, commercials, concept art, feature effects, music videos, game cinematics and broadcast design. Notable clients include ABC, Disney, Universal Pictures, CBS, Microsoft, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Sega, Activision, Nickelodeon, FOX Sports and THQ, among others.
Blur Studio ‘Goldfish Season 4’ Credits
Art Director/CG Supervisor
Rachel de Jong
Environment and Prop Modeling
Hair and Cloth Simulation
Lighting and Compositing
Technical and QC Supervisors
Tools and Scripts
Karl ‘Krash’ Goldshmidt
Programming and Systems Administration
Sound Design and 5.1 Mix