The Iron Man RC Extreme Hero flyer, which hit toy stores with the premiere of Iron Man 3, needed a few in-flight closeups produced in 3D. With holographic screens designed to emulate the style of the feature films, the commercial wrapped up with a fantasy sequence featuring an Iron Man suit build, complete with take-off and fly-by.
The Zagat website features great content highlighting new eateries and up-and-coming food trends. To brand their clips with informational graphics, I stuck with the established Zagat burgundy and Helvetica and used a modern map motif to tie in with Zagat's relationship with Google.
What do you get the Dad who already has everything!
For this Hardcore Pawn promo featuring Les Gold, I illustrated a kitschy Father's Day card, brought to life in 3D. Hand motions were filmed on greenscreen, and then time-remapped to match the CG animation.
This infomercial for Vivitar's XO Tablet features a range of effects. Interface graphics were matchmoved and tracked to tablets shot on-set. Environments were designed and animated, replacing greenscreen backgrounds. Tablet turntable beauty shots for all the different custom cases were modeled and textured in 3D.
This sizzle reel for Beanstalk Group, scripted by Fox & Gazelle and produced by Exit 9 Films, walks you through how Beanstalk extends the brands of many household products. Animated mostly in After Effects, with leaf animations created in Softimage.
It's often better to produce a spot so you have the greatest flexibility well after the cameras have been packed up and the talent has gone home. In this case, shooting the actresses on greenscreen and compositing them later with backplates of bedrooms was perfect - recoloring a room to better compliment the toys or to switch out one room for another was so much easier as a separate element.
A scrapbook photo album modeled and rendered in Softimage topped off the start of the spot.
Who says corporate presentations need to be dull and boring? This one was divided up into different segments using colorful title cards, each one sound-designed with quirky riffs and effects. Banished are the days of Times New Roman on that blue grad PowerPoint background.
Wipeout began airing on truTV in September and to promote the pairing I was asked to integrate the truTV logo into the Wipeout obstacle course. First the shots were tracked to recreate a virtual camera in the computer. Then the original obstacles were painted out, contestants rotoscoped. Replacement obstacles made out of the truTV logo shape were created in Softimage with textures and lighting based on the original shots.
Be sure to say hello to Evan, who was nice enough to play a contestant on greenscreen for the end sucker punch.
The GeneMe skin serum uses custom DNA profiles to best match your skin type with the nutrients your skin needs. To explain this DNA connection without being too visually technical I animated stylized DNA strands in Softimage that color coordinate to the different skin types. To highlight Before & After shots of wrinkles, spots and blemishes, customer photography was touched up and transitioned with pixie dust, to suggest the passage of time.
One man's garbage is another man's gold! Instead of an elaborate shoot of an actual storage unit, I was challenged to make a 3D set. If the items featured in the script changed, or the timing of the spot was altered it would be easier to make those tweaks in the computer instead of re-shooting a real locker.
A hand-drawn paper animatic was made in After Effects. The camera work was then exported to Softimage where the final :18 second animation was rendered.
The 30-minute infomercial for the Gaiam Step360 exercise program needed over 20 product shots created in 3D. Each scene featured the Step360 product as well as the Bonus items that came with it if you called now. Now! Then!
The Step360 step platform, DVDs, magazines, vitamins box, membership cards were all modeled, textured and animated in Softimage and rendered in HD. Three shots from the series are featured here.
The Garnier Fructis jar only existed as a 2D still, though the client was interested in up'ing the production value a notch. I used Softimage to make a rough jar shape that subdivided nicely into a surface perfect for camera mapping the 2D card on to. It's a quick cheat but it saves the time making a detailed jar with lights and textures. With the camera mapped jar I was able to put a slight spin on the it as it slid into frame, adding a touch of life to the product reveal.
“Roots” is the Ultimate Fighting Championship's newest series. Each episode highlights the coming-up-through-the-ranks of their latest rising stars. I was asked to storyboard out the Opening sequence, walking the viewer along a montage of photos and clips of the featured fighter. The literal 'root' timeline treatment grows and branches out, framing the shots, as the viewer works their way to the final logo resolve.
With the sequel to Tron coming to theaters at the end of 2010, truTV Ad Sales requested a package of logo transitions and promo banners “Tronifying” the network to present to Disney, emulating the look of the Tron Legacy trailers. I love hitting the “Make It Glossy, Glassy, Shiny, Extruded, Big, and Cool” button in Softimage.
Twentieth Century Fox approached truTV to cross-promote their upcoming Jack Black film, Gulliver's Travels. With no official movie logo or footage from the film to work with, I was asked to come up with a 10-second "sketch" to present back to the studio. I designed a mock Gulliver's Travels logo and had a colleague act out the role of Jack, compositing both in a magic-hour environment.
To show off the Las Vegas spinoff of Operation Repo, truTV produced a 2-minute piece highlighting the “new team”; in the “new town” for their 2010 Upfront. Animation work included the top titles, logo design, character IDs, end tags and show title reveal.
Though the graphics were simple, putting them up on a 12-foot-tall LED curtain and turning the soundtrack all the way up to ‘11’ makes them look REALLY. Cool.
This is the original incarnation of the Repo Vegas show logo I designed and animated. Channeling the Vegas of the Rat Pack era, I even threw in a nod to Vegas Vic, the waving cowboy sign, by animating the car and tow chain to convey what the show was all about.
There was no lighting reference for the floating book of spells, witches hat, and Harry Potter glasses so I grabbed the reflection from the crystal ball on the corner of the table. The color from that fake HDRI probe drove the lights in Softimage, helping the objects integrate with the background a little better.
I'm not a master at rotoscoping but this is a great example of how doing prep work can make production so much easier. I saw that most of the movement in the shot was from the camera, so instead of using brute force to matte out the characters, I stabilized the camera’s tilt, pan and zoom before rotoscoping, re-applying the shake in the end.
As a kid I spent weekends laughing until I cried every time Wile E Coyote was launched, propelled, ejected, smashed, flattened and stretched by his own inventions while attempting to catch the Roadrunner. So for Man vs. Cartoon I whipped up some blueprints for the footage to live in and turned the spot into a Saturday Morning Cartoon complete with falling rocks and Chuck Jones cacti.
This is the intro animation for the new Loopz from Mattel. I modeled and textured up the logo and toy in Softimage from photos and reference footage and then spun all the pieces together for a rough and quick assembly.
I was asked to storyboard a few concepts for the open to Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura. I did three sets but this one is my favorite. I wanted to go for that “I know it's out there but it keeps slipping through my fingers” effect.
The Reel Cut package was designed by another agency but with every new movie the palette and mood needs to be adjusted. You can't go wrong compositing natural cloud footage with shots of the moon. Add in a little roto of the Wolfman character on the rooftops of old London and you can almost smell the wet cobblestones.
Before animating the open to Speeders Fight Back I sat down and storyboarded it to make an animatic to present. I often do little doodles before starting a project — the stick figures let you focus on the story without getting hung up on distracting details.
Marc Trzepla is a freelance animator and designer of motion graphics and visual effects with over 20 years of experience animating for a wide range of media. His work has been featured in commercials and on network television, as well as in retail stores and on the web.
A graduate of the Industrial Design program at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Marc transitioned from product design to storytelling, trading paint and plastic for pixels.
Freelancing as ChepMotion since 2004, Marc offers clients a collection of skills including motion graphics and 3D animation, post production and compositing.
Marc enjoys the Hudson skyline from Jersey City where he currently lives with his wife and daughter.