Tuesday, October 20, 2015

SunCola Skiing

SunCola "Skiing", 1997

Along with the SunTop "World Explorers" film, this 18 second TV ad constituted the annual SunTop/SunCola TV commercial pair of 1997. The two films were done in one stretch of eight weeks, six for the SunTop film and two for the SunCola.

That meant that I had to do 15 seconds of layout, animation, cleanup, inbetweening, coloring, camera etc. all by myself in two weeks. Quite a fun challenge!

The film was done for Co-Ro Food A/S, parent company of the brands SunTop, SunCola, Sunquick and Sun Lolly. I drew the storyboard based on a script worked out by the client in cooperation with a film production company called Planet Productions run by Lars Borch Nielsen.

SunCola "Skiing" storyboard by Dan Harder, 1997.

As usual (see here, here and here), the backgrounds were painted by Thomas Dreyer based on my layouts. Here's a selection from the film.

One advantage of doing all the animation, cleanup and inbetweening myself was that I didn't have to spend any time on communication with assistants, such as doing time charts, indications for breakdowns and all that kind of stuff. I just did some rough animation, tested it and made the final adjustments in cleanup. Here's a rough animation test with some of the shots already cleaned up and inbetweened. As you can see (or maybe not), little things have been enhanced in the final color version below.

Again, optimizing for efficiency, the cleanups were done on the same sheets of paper as the roughs, simply by rubbing down the sketchy lines and tightening up the drawings. Therefore, no rough animation drawings exist from the film, and I'll just have to share with you some of my scruffy cleanups.

I must admit I have a special preference for action scenes, so here is a nice little shot where Mr SunTop, re-energized by his SunCola drink, takes action to defeat his always deceitful opponent Bob Bubble.

In order to do these first couple of movies very quickly, I had to rely on the technology that I was already familiar with. Therefore the coloring was done in Photoshop, while all the camera work was done in Autodesk's 3D animation program "3D Studio" for DOS. Also, as explained in the prevous post, the line testing was done in my own custom-made program for DOS.

As a consequence, I had to keep switching between Windows NT 4.0, under which I ran Photoshop, and DOS on my Pentium PC, whenever I wanted to test some frames that I had just colored. At the same time I had two old 486 PCs rendering camera movements in 3D Studio. In the long run, it was a rather impractical setup, but for this improvised operation it had to suffice.

The result was acceptable. However, one thing that I didn't really get quite right in this film is the pace. The skiing seems too slow overall, and not even consistent throughout the shots. Ah well, for a two-week/one-man job it came out fairly decent.

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