User Focus - 6/04
Issue: Volume: 27 Issue: 6 (June 2004)

User Focus - 6/04

With help from production facility Boomtown and postproduction house Kinetic, the spot—which adopts the look of a 1950s postcard—condenses the spirited "small town girls live it up in the big city" plot of Wonderful Town into a brief but vibrant 30 seconds.

The live action focused on the show's two female leads singing and dancing through a series of romantic New York City settings. A motion-control camera rig was used to film the entire cast and crew of the musical production against greenscreen as they interacted with a limited number of practical set pieces. The action was then tracked in 2d3's Boujou so it could be later integrated with the virtual elements.
Working in After Effects, digital artists created a highly stylized 1950s look for this live-action ad.

Director Ryan McFaul designed the spot and created a number of the digital environments, including multi-plane sets for several New York City night scenes and a subway interior using Adobe's After Effects. Meanwhile, animation house Pixel Monkeys created a number of city park and nightclub backgrounds in Discreet's 3ds max. Most of the compositing was also performed by McFaul using After Effects.

Key to the spot's success was the final integration of the digital and actual elements, which was accomplished in After Effects. The software was also used to color the imagery and lend it a washed-out style to match the period look of the musical. —Karen Moltenbrey

When Click 3x created a branding campaign for electronics giant Samsung, the artists had to think big. That's because they were creating the graphics package for display on a giant screen at one of the world's biggest and most famous landmarks—New York City's Times Square.

Click 3x designed the pieces, employing bold renditions of the Samsung logo. The artists then created the graphic elements using mainly Alias's Maya, in addition to Softimage's XSI. In particular, the Samsung products were accurately modeled down to the smallest detail. The team also used Discreet's Flame for rotoscoping and Adobe's After Effects for compositing.

Half the campaign consists of sophisticated logo treatments with the company's name appearing in fascinating guises. In one, stylized electronic circuitry pulsing throughout the frame resolves into the wings of butterflies circling the logo. Another, inspired by M.C. Escher, features people walking on the top, bottom, and sides of the frame while using Samsung products. The other half of the campaign contains intricate, photorealistic animations involving the company's new products. One features a Samsung refrigerator in an architectural rendering of a house that comes to life.
Artists designed a unique branding campaign for Samsung's huge Times Square SuperSign.

The segments are currently being shown on Samsung's 45x40-foot SuperSign. The massive screen size required Click 3x to produce the CG elements in "super high def" so that the frame is as wide as a standard HD image but is considerably taller to match the screen's 4:3 aspect ratio. As a result, it often took several hours to render a single frame of the animation.

Additionally, the artists resized and reformatted the animation for delivery in HD and SD for use in television and other media outlets worldwide. "As television viewership continues to fragment, alternative media is becoming increasingly important," says Click 3x president Peter Corbett. "Advertising is no longer confined to a 30-second TV spot." —KM