Saturday, October 31, 2015

SunCola Fencing

SunCola "Fencing", 1998.

Every year throughout the nineties, a pair of SunTop/SunCola commercials were produced. And the SunCola ad always had the same concept:

Mr. SunCola competes in some kind of sport against his long-time foe Bob Bubble. On the face of it, the opponent is both bigger and stronger, and thus has all the advantages. But Mr. SunCola has his secret weapon: the non-carbonated SunCola drink, whereas Bob Bubble will have to content himself with an old-fashioned fizzy cola. Yuck!

On the other hand, Mr. Bubble has no respect for the rules of the game. So every film starts out with him playing some nasty trick on our hero, who therefore loses the first round. But as they both take a break for a drink, Mr. Suntop gets re-energized by his SunCola (while Bob Bubble is all gassy from his regular cola), and then, with a couple of elegant moves, Mr. Suntop  easily outmaneuvers his rival.

Here's the storyboard for the SunCola film of 1998.

SunCola "Fencing" storyboard by Dan Harder, 1998.

In this case the client asked for Mr. SunCola to be re-designed somewhat in order to have a more athletic body instead of his regular cuddly teddy-bear shape. They also asked for the fur on his head to be removed. So here they are, Mr. SunCola and Bob Bubble in their new fencing outfits.

Of all the SunCola commercials I did (and I'm not even sure how many that is) this one is probably my favorite. Its story, staging and animation is really simple and clear.

For the same reason I guess, my good friend and colleague Kim Hagen borrowed a few scenes from this film for use in some classes he taught at "The Animation Workshop," an animation school located in the Danish town of Viborg. According to Kim, the idea was to focus on the concept "less is more."

So the pupils got some of the layouts and character designs and were asked to animate the shots as if it were a professional assignment. Apparently they all approached the task in a far too complicated fashion, trying to squeeze too much animation into every shot. Afterwards, when they were shown the actual film, they were rather surprised at how simply the animation was done. (As it happened, when Kim tried to repeat the success with another class, the students took a peek at the final film before doing their own attempts, which sort of undermined the process.)

Below are the cleaned up drawings from one of the shots. As you can see, the main poses of the scene are basically identical to those in the storyboard. The same is pretty much true for the rest of the scenes in the film.

Here is a linetest, cleaned up and inbetweened, of the whole film.

As usual, the backgrounds were done by my faithful background artist, Thomas Dreyer. In this one case, however, though beautifully painted, they did come out a bit on the solemn side. It might have worked well for a more serious feature film, but for a silly, up-beat commercial like this, I felt the colors ought to be a lot brighter and more powerful. Hence the adjustments done for the final film. Check it out at the bottom of the post and judge for yourself.

The final colored movie.

1 comment:

  1. HA! This was the (one of the) exams of KAU generation 1. We had to do two of the shots, one where littel bear reacts, and one where big bear pulls the carpet, or was it pull carpet and bear falls... hmm. Whatever. Fun to see "the real thing".