Digital Domain Lends FX to Old Spice Spot
June 26, 2008

Digital Domain Lends FX to Old Spice Spot

Venice, Calif. - Old Spice’s new :30 spot, titled “Double Impact,” shows that visual effects can play a supporting comedic role.

In the spot, a half-man/half-horse lathers up while speaking about the benefits of being “two things in one: a man and a pretty smart shopper.” To set up the ridiculous notion of having a centaur deliver this line, the artists at Digital Domain had to create a photorealistic centaur, and they also added a few visual tricks to keep the audience amused.

“Funny is hard,” says visual effects supervisor Vernon Wilbert. “It is a whole different set of standards. Of course the centaur needed to look plausible, but an effect like this can get creepy really quickly. We worked closely with (director) Phil Morrison to walk a very fine comedic line.”

Being funny is something Old Spice and its agency Wieden & Kennedy took very seriously when they assembled an all-star production team, comprising Digital Domain artists, director Phil Morrison (JuneBug), and the practical visual effects of Stan Winston Studios.

The team worked closely together on the biggest visual challenge—the connection point between man and horse. In the past, practically every centaur effect in movies and television is fudged with a piece of armor or cloth covering the connection. But for “Double Impact” the effect would be naked for the world to scrutinize.

“[Stan Winston Studios] built a prosthetic piece and attached it to the actor so everyone understood the size and whereabouts of the horse,” explains Wilbert. “Their piece was done extremely well and we had accurate reference points to work with as a result.”

Digital Domain’s extra touch was adding strategically placed soap suds, blending, and visual tricks to create an extremely convincing centaur. As the centaur delivers his lines in the shower, soap suds drip seamlessly from the man’s body to the horse’s legs.

“The suds made it work,” continues Wilbert. “It worked better because the suds and the soap go places where they shouldn’t. That made it real…and it made it funny.”
Old Spice “Two in One”
Directed by: Phil Morrison

Agency:  WIEDEN & KENNEDY     

Ben Grylewicz            Head of Production
Mark Fitzloff                  Creative Director
Monica Taylor            Creative Director
Chris Larson                  Art Director
Dominic Orlando            Art Director
Andres Murillo            Producer
Marcelino Alvarez            Interactive Producer
Heather Harvey            Print Producer
Michael Illick                  Writer
Production Company: EPOCH FILMS

Phil Morrison                  Director
Doug Halbert                  Executive Producer
Adam Gross                  Producer

Animation and Visual Effects by: DIGITAL DOMAIN, INC.

Ed Ulbrich                  Executive Vice President / President of Commercials
Karen Anderson            Executive Producer / Head of Production
Vernon Wilbert             Visual Effects Supervisor
Brad Hayes                  CG Supervisor
Jason Cohon                  VFX Producer
William Lemmon            VFX Coordinator
Charles Paek                  Lighting R&D
Matthew Bell                  Digital Artist
Anthony Ramirez            Digital Artist 
Patrick Mulane            Matte Painter           
George Krauter            Character Modeler
Mattias Jervill                  Character Rigger
Daniel Loeb                  Character Animator
Hilery Copeland            Roto Artist
Rob Liscombe            Roto Artist
Jonny Hicks                  Flame Compositor
Kevin Ellis                  Flame Assistant
Jackie Cooper            Nuke Compositor
Rafael Colon                  Nuke Compositor 
Som Shankar                  Tracking
Montu Jariwala            Tracking

David Glean                  Executive Producer
Dawne Mills                  Producer
Michael Heldman            Editor