Super Bowl XLIV: Autodesk Software Helps Post Houses Score Commercial Work
By: Karen Moltenbrey
February 7, 2010

Super Bowl XLIV: Autodesk Software Helps Post Houses Score Commercial Work

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., Feb. 9, 2010 - Every year during the Super Bowl, global brands premiere commercials that showcase the best visual effects and animation in television advertising - for over 15 years, much of this creative work has been shaped with Digital Entertainment Creation software from Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK). A majority of this year's most popular spots, according to the USA Today poll, were created with certain Autodesk Media & Entertainment software.

"Autodesk software helps customers be more creative and efficient, and generate business," said Karim Salabi, Autodesk Media & Entertainment vice president of marketing. "We congratulate our clients for such an impressive body of work in this year's commercials and are thrilled that our 3D tools played a role in the annual ritual of Super Bowl commercial innovation."

John Budion, director and visual effects supervisor of this year's E*Trade commercials, said, "My Autodesk Flame expertise is really what gave me the opportunity to direct this high-profile campaign. The tracking, compositing and seemingly limitless features of Flame offered solutions for nearly every obstacle that arose and allowed me to bring the campaign to the next level."

Numerous post-production facilities used certain Autodesk Media & Entertainment software to help create this year's Super Bowl commercials (see Autodesk YouTube channel for links to these commercials):

AXYZ had a very successful Super Bowl season with five Bud Light commercials created with the help of Autodesk Inferno visual effects and compositing software: "Stranded," "LightHouse," "AutoTune," "Book Club" and "Asteroid," the last of which also used Autodesk Maya 3D visual effects, animation and rendering software.

A52 worked on two commercials that aired during the game: Honda "Squirrel" using a combination of Maya and Autodesk Smoke editorial finishing software, and KGB "Sumo" using Maya and Autodesk Flame visual effects and compositing software.

Blur created an epic commercial for EA's "Dante's Inferno" using Autodesk tools: Autodesk MotionBuilder performance capture software, as well as Autodesk 3D modeling, animation and rendering software Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Softimage with the Face Robot facial animation toolset.

Click 3X created three spots for E*Trade: "Girlfriend," "First Class" and "Tears" using Flame, Maya and Autodesk Flare, the creative companion to Flame.

FilmWorkers Club created an ad titled "Fence" for Budweiser with the help of Flame, Smoke and Inferno.

MassMarket created four commercials that aired during the game: "Awesomer" for Emerald Nut, "Forge" for Vizio, "Timothy Richmond" for and "Game" for Snickers. All were created with Flame and Maya.

Method created two comedic spots for Bridgestone tires: "Your Tires or Your Life" and "Whale of a Tale" using a combination of Flame and Maya, among other tools.

The Mill created "Boost Mobile Shuffle" for Boost with the help of Flame and the Budweiser "Bridge" commercial using Flame, Flare, Softimage and Autodesk Combustion compositing software.

MPC used Flame and Maya to help create both "Sleepwalker" for Coca Cola and "Nightmares Never Sleep" for Jordan Brand, a division of Nike, Inc.

PublicVFX created a 13 spot campaign for Hyundai, four of which aired during the Super Bowl: "10 Years/Favre," "Luxury," "Body Pass" and "Paint Sonata" with the help of Maya and Flame.

Semerad created the McDonald's commercial "Check This" with Flame, Softimage and Inferno visual effects software as well as Maya and MotionBuilder for pre-visualization.

Launching new advertising campaigns during the Super Bowl continues to be a top priority for global advertisers, and Autodesk tools help play an important part in the creation of their commercial campaigns. A recent study* concluded that two-thirds of the television-watching audience still remember their favorite brand advertiser from last year's game, while only 39 percent remember who won the game and that three out of four are more likely to research or buy a product after seeing it advertised during the Super Bowl. Four out of the five favorite ads from last year's game (Budweiser, Pepsi, E*Trade and Bud Light)* were created by Autodesk clients using a host of Autodesk tools.

* According to a poll of 1,000 Americans on consumer engagement in the Super Bowl conducted by advertising agency Venables, Bell & Partners.

Beast Goes to Work for at Super Bowl XLIV Editorial Facility Contributes to User-Generated Ad Campaign Santa Monica, CA – February 8, 2010 – Beast , one of the country’s top editorial facilities, announced today that editor John Dingfield contributed work on three spots for the "Hire My TV Ad” contest, with the winner, “Casual Friday,” airing during Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIV.

The :30 ads, conceived by contest finalists, were directed by Craig Gillespie for CareerBuilder’s in-house advertising team, and subjected to public voting on the CareerBuilder web site to determine which commercial would air during the big game. The ads, entitled “Casual Friday,” “Job Fairy” and the “too hot for TV” “Worst Seat,” incorporate elements of CareerBuilder’s signature use of humor and reinforce the company’s “start building” tagline.

To create the spots, Career Builder turned the finalist concepts over to its advertising team for script development. Shooting took place over the course of three days in October, and the footage was handed off to Dingfield at Beast’s Chicago facility for editing in early November. “It was very nice to have so much time to spend on the project,” Dingfield commented. “I was really able to give the material its due. The production team shot more gags and set-ups than I could ever use, so it was a definite challenge to take all of that fantastic footage and cut it down to 30 seconds.”

“It was great working with the CareerBuilder team,” Dingfield continued. “The ‘Job Fairy’ spot was fairly technically demanding, so in terms of editorial there were a bunch a moving parts. Right from the beginning they got us involved in pre-production meetings, both to ensure that everyone on the post side was on board technically, and to make certain that creatively I had enough material to play with.”

About Beast Beast is one of the country’s top editorial facilities for commercials, music videos and web virals. With offices in Santa Monica, New York, Austin, Detroit, Chicago and San Francisco, Beast serves a global clientele with an unparalleled roster of established, award-winning editors as well as up-and-coming talent. Since opening its doors in 2006, Beast has built an impressive and varied body of work for such clients as Harpo Films, Nike, AT&T, Reebok, Southwest Airlines, GM, Toyota, BMW, Mercedes, USAF, Linkin Park and Black Eyed Peas.


Directed by Noam Murro and Tim Godsall for Agency Innocean Americas, Hyundai Campaign Will Air on Super Bowl XLIV and Academy Awards Broadcasts

Venice, California (February 8, 2010) – PublicVFX, a recently formed commercial visual effects studio, has launched its new venture with the delivery of visual effects for Hyundai’s latest ad campaign. Four of the 13 thirty-second ads from the package, “Body Pass,” “Paint Sonata,” “10 Years/ Favre” and “Luxury,” debuted during the Super Bowl XLIV broadcast on Sunday, February 7. Additional spots are set to air during the Academy Awards in March, giving the Hyundai campaign the two largest television audiences of the year. Public also worked on the new Dodge campaign directed by Mark Romanek of Anonymous for Wieden + Kennedy, which was also unveiled during the Super Bowl.

The Hyundai campaign, narrated by actor Jeff Bridges, was directed by acclaimed directors Noam Murro and Tim Godsall of Biscuit Filmworks for Innocean Americas, Hyundai’s Irvine-based agency.

To illustrate the quality and hand-built ethos of the Hyundai line, “Body Pass” was shot at the manufacturer’s plant in Montgomery, Alabama, one of the most technologically advanced in the world. Dozens of workers are seen tenderly carrying a Sonata – a perfect CG replica generated by Public – down a spiral staircase and through a configuration of office cubicles while Jeff Bridges explains that “having every one of our team members in charge of quality makes it feel as if the all-new Sonata was built by hand.”

Set to classical music, “Paint Sonata” is a visually elegant ode to the robotically based paint process lavished on each Hyundai model at its plant.

“10 Years/ Favre” uses computer-generated imagery from Public as metaphors for Hyundai’s 10 Year Protection Plan. Set in the year 2020, a gray-haired and digitally aged 50-year-old Brett Favre accepts the MVP Award in the form of a holographic trophy and hedges about the possibility of his retirement. Bridges’ voiceover reminds us that that “We don’t know what things will be like in 10 years, but we can assure you that your Hyundai will be covered.”

The most broadly comedic spot, “Luxury,” plays off Hyundai’s affordable price point and style and features photorealistic CG elements and compositing by Public. A sleek white yacht, which would be at home in St. Tropez, is parked alongside a modest suburban home. A pick up game of basketball in a gritty neighborhood gets a Vegas-style interpretation with an inlaid marble court, hoop suspended from an ornate column and an haute couture basketball. A downtown environment, spangled with crystal chandeliers, flaunts a red-carpeted pedestrian crossing.

Robert Prins, Creative Director at Innocean, said of the agency’s collaboration with Public “From the very beginning they worked side by side with us. No detail was overlooked. They were tireless and worked 24/7. Without the artistic and realistic perfection that Public put into these spots, they would never have worked.”

Public’s co-owner and creative director Tony Smoller, who has extensive live action and digital production experience, provided on set supervision for the campaign’s 12-day Los Angeles shoot, as well as five days at the Hyundai plant in Alabama.

“We feel very fortunate to have been a part of this high profile campaign for Hyundai,” said Smoller. “The natural synergy between Innocean and Public resulted in the seamless visual execution of their concepts and has really affirmed our desire for creative challenge and growth.”

Public used a variety of hardware and software on the Hyundai spots, including Autodesk Maya and Flame, Side Effects Houdini and SynthEyes camera tracking and stabilization. The entire campaign was edited by the award-winning editorial company Spot Welders.

Other visual effects credits for Public include "Global Hawk” for Northrop Grumman’s “Minds Behind It All” campaign directed by Jeff Darling of Believe for McCann L.A.; Target “I Got A Feeling” directed by Jonas Ackerlund of Serial Pictures for Wieden + Kennedy; and “Drive One,” the launch of the 2010 Ford Taurus, directed by Mikon van Gastel of A Very Small Office/NY for agency JWT/Team Detroit.

Public also provided finishing services for Yahoo! “Anthem,” directed by Samuel Bayer for Ogilvy; Cisco Systems directed by Peyton Reed of Moxie Pictures for Ogilvy/West; and Ford 2.0, a series of more than 40 television and online commercials directed by The Malloys of HSI for Team Detroit.

About PublicVFX

PublicVFX was founded in late 2009 by Creative Director and VFX Supervisor Tony Smoller and the principals of editorial company Spot Welders, David Glean and Michael Heldman. Their joint venture culminated in the merger of visual effects companies Moving Pixels and Sea Level as a way to leverage the strengths of the newly formed independent studio PublicVFX and Spot Welders’ award-winning editorial talent to produce top-tier work for their clients. Located in the creative hub of Venice, California, in a space designed by noted architect Roy McMakin, PublicVFX specializes in innovative 2D and 3D visual effects, animation, design and supervision for the commercial and advertising industries.

For more information, please visit or call 310-450-6969.

Click 3X Launches New E*TRADE Babies Campaign

The legendary E*TRADE babies are back, this time in a seven-spot campaign produced from start to finish by Click 3X. John J. Budion, working closely with Grey NYC, led Click's in-house team as director, creative director, and lead flame artist, shooting, directing and handling all VFX. While the basic concept and characters will be familiar to any E*TRADE Baby fan, the campaign evolves significantly behind amusing character developments, unique new settings that go beyond the traditional nursery, and tie-ins to both the company's sophisticated online trading tools and the NFL Playoffs on CBS.

The team at Click 3X has contributed memorable VFX to previous E*TRADE baby campaigns, making the babies' lips appear to move as they spoke. The campaign marks an important moment in Click's evolution, as Grey awarded the company a dominant role in creating the new spots, an acknowledgment of their enhanced technological capabilities and expanding talent base.

"Campaign after campaign, Click 3X amazes us with their production capabilities. This year's E*TRADE Baby campaign is a brilliant interplay of media formats that come together seamlessly for the audience," said Nicholas Utton, CMO E*TRADE Financial. "From creative concept through post production, Click 3X has been an integral partner in the success of the E*TRADE baby campaign." Click 3X Managing Director Jason Mayo adds, "Click is moving aggressively to establish itself as a soup-to-nuts operation. It says a lot for John (Budion) and the rest of our crew that Grey and E*TRADE would entrust us to collaborate with them on so many important elements of such a major national campaign. John really shows his creative and technical capabilities in enhancing the long-running Baby campaign without sacrificing the legacy of the engrained themes and characters."

The new settings create unique opportunities for Baby to show off E*TRADE's features. Lottery features Baby in a convenience store, mocking an adult who is fiercely focused on his scratch-off lottery ticket. "You know your chances of winning are the same as being mauled by a polar bear and a regular bear in the same day?" he asks, encouraging his friend to stake his retirement instead on E*TRADE's extensive planning tools. In First Class, Baby takes to the skies, lounging in the plane's cabin on his way back from a bachelor party, sipping a glass of milk and bantering with a friend, bragging that E*TRADE automatically triggered his stop-loss orders while he was living it up on vacation.

In Girlfriend, the campaign returns to the nursery, this time for a hilarious two-way webcam chat in which Baby explains to his girlfriend that he wasn't able to call her last night because he was on E*TRADE diversifying his portfolio, emphasizing the importance of this sort of immediate direct control in such a volatile market. Baby's credibility takes a hit, however, when his girlfriend grills him on whether the "milkaholic" Lindsay was over, and the troublemaking tot, upon hearing her name, dodges into the lens.

E*TRADE had a very specific vision for the campaign's look, and Budion chose a variety of cameras to meet this challenge, including a Sony F23 that shoots in 1920 x 1080 HD and a P2 cam that shoots 1280 x 720 in standard def. In order to reach a middle ground and get the exact film texture that E*TRADE sought, he sharpened the P2 footage and degraded the HD footage.

Barbershop, a :15 featuring Baby and his three friends sitting in a study singing a goodbye diddy to their overpriced brokers, perhaps best represents the disparate elements that Click brought together to assemble each final spot. Budion shot each baby in HD individually against a green screen so that they could be reused in any spot, a technique he followed for each shoot. He then transposed the babies against the still background shot and added animated fire to the room's fireplace.

Shooting a series of spots that had to be assembled from disparate pieces to look like fluid live action presented special challenges. In Lottery and First Class, for example, the two characters are shot at different times, against a green screen, so Budion had to carefully plan the height at which to shoot each and consider how their eye lines would match up to one another as they conversed. Both spots feature a mix of CG, live action, and stills, a challenging cocktail for even the most experienced production teams.

"Luckily we have a lot of experience in composite and post, so we knew exactly what to do to optimize the live-action shoots," noted Budion. "Grey was very clear from the beginning on what the final spots would look like, so we arranged the production process around it. This is emerging as a clear advantage for Click as we move more and more into production - we understand post so well that we're able to plan ahead better than most studios, saving everyone time and money in the end."

The campaign, which is currently running during the NFL Playoffs, features extensive tie-ins to both the league and CBS. In My Mind is a :10 in which Baby clutches a football and spells out his dreams of one day leading a team to victory on the gridiron. CBS NFL Today Interview features a game-day webcam back-and-forth between the CBS NFL Today show's James Brown and Baby, in which they break down the upcoming matchup between the New York Jets and the Indianapolis Colts.

Two of the :30s debuted during Super Bowl XLIV, Outtakes, a 1:16 compilation of "bloopers" is currently running in theatres and on E*TRADE's YouTube channel.

Budwiser Super Bowl Spot

Vizio Super Bowl Spot

Honda Super Bowl Spot