The spot conversion, for Avrett Free Ginsberg, was overseen by Nice Shoes' VFX artists Rich Schreck and Russ Bigsby, as well as senior producer Pat Portela. Originally animated in 2D by Passion Pictures, it features a cat in a real-world kitchen and a can of Friskies which emits a magical display of golden confetti. The cat then jumps through a magical-looking glass and wanders through an animated wonderland that includes turkeys and cows and a ride on an animated fish-shaped boat.
"It's actually a piggy-back spot," Portela reports. "The first 30 seconds is from a Friskies spot called "Adventureland" that we'd already done the 2D to 3D conversion for. That was featured as a 3D spot in cinemas, playing before Alice In Wonderland last year."
Because the Nice Shoes team had successfully converted that spot, Avrett Free Ginsberg contacted Nice Shoes in order to do the second "Tasty Treasures" spot and integrate them together so that the 2D to 3D conversion would match seamlessly. The two :30s combined for the new :60 spot.
Technical challenges were considerable, adds Bigsby. "There was a lot of rotoscoping, and we basically had to deconstruct the whole spot and then put it back together in a 3D world by projecting images onto 3D geometries and utilizing the stereoscopic cameras in the software. You kind of make up the space, though you're a bit limited in what you can do, as it's still 2D, but in a 3D space."
The team was on a very tight schedule of a week turnaround. "Luckily, as we'd already done the first part of it, the client trusted us to make it look identical in technique and visually to the previous spot," says Portela. "So they left us alone to get on with it, and then they came in for approvals and gave us the 5.1 audio to marry to it for delivery.
The entire spot was done in Autodesk's Flame by Bigsby and Schreck. "We'd done a conversion for ABC which was also CG animation, and it seems to work really well on that type of footage," adds Bigsby.
While many movie critics and fans have complained about after-the-fact 3D film conversion on recent features, "the 2D to 3D conversion process is certainly a viable technique, and I do get a lot of inquires about it," says Portela. "For clients that are looking to do cinema advertising and want to get into the 3D blockbuster market, it gives them a perfect opportunity to repurpose an existing popular spot without having to go back and recreate it all from scratch. We can convert it with great results."