Monday, September 14, 2015

3D Pepsi Bottle

As briefly mentioned earlier, I had a bit of a flirt with CGI animation back in the early nineties.

In the summer of 1990 I animated and directed a couple of hand-drawn commercials for the small Copenhagen studio Nielsen & Nielsen, which were colored and composited on the studio's newly acquired supercomputer, the "Personal Iris" from Silicon Graphics. Then, from December 1990, after finishing animation at A.Film on Don Bluth's A Troll in Central Park, I actually worked for a couple of months at Nielsen & Nielsen as a CGI modeler and animator.

Well, animation is probably stretching it a bit, since I didn't really animate anything living, it was more like building and rotating various solid objects which were rendered with nice glossy surfaces using 3D software from Thomson Digital Image (TDI). In the end I decided against pursuing a career as an operator of this new technological wonder, fascinating as it was. But I still stayed in touch with the studio and animated some 2D commercials for them, and also served as an animation supervisor for my replacement at the computer.

One such project was this TV commercial for the then brandnew 1.5 liter softdrink bottles (we had never had bottles larger than 1 liter before in Denmark). The Pepsi bottle jumps into the picture and calls on all its new bigger friends: Pepsi Light, 7-UP, 7-UP Light and the Danish energy drink Faxe Kondi.

In this case I did a full hand-drawn animation reference for the action. The new tech guy, Michael Holm (with whom I later worked on a number of exciting and somewhat crazy projects - see future posts) then built the 3D bottles and matched them to the 2D ref. It's pretty simple, and the result isn't perfect, but it was probably the first CGI "character animation" made on Danish soil, so it does have some historical significance :)

The flic above is grabbed from an old VHS tape. Below is the original storyboard from the advertising agency. (As you can see it's a fax - oh, what wonderful eighties' technology!)

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