Chopper, the lovable-but-anxious dog who goes to great lengths to protect his prized bone, makes a comeback in a new campaign for Travelers Insurance with CG help from broadcast design & animation company motion504.
Created by ad agency Fallon, the four spots, “Cat Burglar,” “Stolen Bone,” “Puppy Love,” and “Soapbox Car,” follow a similar theme as Chopper frets about guarding his bone until peace-of-mind comes in the form of the Travelers red umbrella.
To view the “Cat Burglar” and “Stolen Bone,” please visit:
“After shooting four commercials for Travelers, and with little time to finish, I looked to motion504 to help with graphic solutions to my endframes; they were both creative and fast, which is what I needed,” says Myles Allpress, Fallon Art Director. “With very little briefing, the motion504 guys 3D modeled umbrellas from real-world pictures to create a natural, and very real, picture to graphic transition. It emulated a breeze, and it looked perfect every time, of which I am very grateful. It’s also great to have a shop that good in our own backyard.”
motion504 was responsible for creating the seamless transition from the live-action umbrella to the 3D umbrella, which segues into the end tag. This involved transforming from the 3D umbrella to a model that matched the stylized, graphic Travelers logo, achieved with subtle geometry morphing. The difference between detailed model and graphic logo was a subtle item, but important to the client to keep the imagery on point with their branding.
“The client was open to letting us determine what the transition would look like,” explains Amy Schmitt, motion504 Creative Director. “The biggest challenge was trying to match the realism of the live-action umbrella with our CG umbrella. There was extensive paintwork behind the umbrella, so we needed to coordinate closely with Mass Market, who handled the finishing work on the spots. They provided us with the background plates, and were such a pleasure to work with.”
“Once the umbrella was made, we positioned it and the camera to match the footage,” concludes Adam Tow, motion504 3D Artist. “After final tweaks to make the viewing angle work, the original shoot footage was projected into the model so that materials and colors matched between the two sources. There was additional rotoscoping and matte painting to smooth the handoff from real to 3D. The motion and sway of the umbrella came out feeling very natural. Everyone loves this campaign, and we’re happy to be a part of it.”
Cat Burglar, Stolen Bone, Puppy Love, Soapbox Car
July 2011 (Cat Burglar) & August 2011 (Stolen Bone), September 2011 (Puppy Love, Soapbox Car)
Ad Agency: Fallon/Minneapolis
Chief Creative Officer: Darren Spiller
Art Director: Myles Allpress
Copywriter: Simon Roseblade
Producer: Kate Talbott
Production Company: Rattling Stick/London & Epoch Films/LA
Director: Daniel Kleinman
Executive Producers: Johnnie Frankel & John Duffin
Editorial Company: Cut + Run/London
Editor: Eve Ashwell
Assistant Editor: Sean Stender
Senior Producer: Christie Price
Managing Director: Michelle Burke
VFX Company: Mass Market/LA
Senior Flame Artist: Miles Essmiller
VFX shoot supervisor Adrian Hurley
Senior VFX Producer: Jenn Dewey
Associate VFX Producer: Minh Ly
Design Company: motion504/Minneapolis
Creative Director: Amy Schmitt
3D Artist: Adam Tow
Executive Producer: Eric Mueller
Cinema 4D (3D umbrella), and After Effects (compositing and graphics)
Postproduction Company: The Moving Picture Company/London
Colorist: Mark Gethin
“Be OK” by Ingrid Michaelson (Cat Burglar), “Trouble” by Ray LaMontagne (Prized Possession) and “Gone” by John Hiatt (Stolen Bone)
Audio Post Company: Lime Studios
Mixer: Rohan Young
motion504 is a broadcast design, effects and animation studio specializing in the art of motion. Featuring the talent of senior-level creative directors, designers and animators, the company works for TV, film, music and advertising clients.
With its open studio space, motion504 is built upon the idea of collaboration through communication, critique and contribution amongst its artists and clients.