Published on Thursday, 22 May 2014


Psyop, FSM , LAIKA/house Enter New Projects in AEAF Awards

Now is the time to enter your team’s projects from the past year in the AEAF Awards. Projects are being submitted every day and the latest entries are exciting and inspiring. The AEAF Awards is an international competition and screening open to all digital content creators and motion graphics, digital video, animation and effects professionals and students. Enter work using the form on the dedicated, updated VFX Festival website. Follow new entries appearing in the Online Festival and look out for news and stories about new projects and teams. The deadline for submissions is 30 June 2014.


Psyop has entered a spot from the ‘This Is How We Dew’ campaign for Mountain Dew in which the ‘Portraits’celebrate the careers and lives of three of the brand’s key celebrity endorsers - NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr, skateboarder Paul Rodriguez and snowboarder Danny Davis.

The mini documentaries illustrate the three athletes as most fans never see them.  Each is shown doing the Dew as the camera recedes, exposing multiple looping content based on the star’s personality. Visual tests and design exploration are an integral part of the Psyop creative process.  Test shoots were conducted at various frame rates prior to filming on set to determine the ideal frame rate to achieve the desired look.  

Psyop’s VFX pipeline was used to perfectly isolate individual body parts and create seamless loops. All the single shots were then edited together into one scene and placed into a 3D space on top of matte painted backgrounds. Breaking the sections into as many layers as possible, the content was projected into 3D geometry for dimension, length and depth before dynamic lighting and adding final details.


From Laika/house, the team submitted an original CG short film starring a vengeful Rock Giant who terrorizes a small coastal town in his mighty fists. It is beautifully lit and textured, created in Photoshop, Maya, Flame and Flint. They have also submitted a TVC for Shaw Communications about their Shaw Cable, in which two deceptively simple bots move smoothly through a sleek electronic environment and communicate with subtle signals. The animation, created with Maya, Smoke and Photoshop, is critical to showing how they find love in missed connections.


Lapins de L’Espace in France have entered a music video combining live action backgrounds and stop motion animation to create characters, creatures and environments – comprised of many individual components - in a delicate, fragile watercolour world. Animator Chloe Monguillon and her team used Dragon Frame software, Cinema 4D, Adobe Flash and After Effects to achieve this look.


in Sydney have entered two very different spots, one for the Skoda Octavia in which a group of perfectly animated toys burst into action inside one of the cars to demonstrate its features. An exciting Pizza Hut delivery run was shot in a bare street on the Melbourne city fringes. The 15-second spot focuses on a single front shot of a pizza delivery man running down the street carrying a pizza in one hand, surrounded by characters and events from various Playstation games such as Knack, Killzone and Assasin's Creed, among others. Both projects were achieved with Maya and Flame, ZBrush, Syntheyes and Nuke. Apart from the CG modelling and animation, the work involves intense compositing and integration into live action plates.

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At Flying Bark Productions in Sydney, the team has entered a children’s interactive app and online series they have been working on called ‘The Eggsperts’, based on the look and feel of the e-learning website ‘Reading Eggs’, using the same colour palette and textures to create a consistent ‘Eggsperts’ world appealing to a preschool audience.

Sam, Jazz and Tom are the main protagonists of ‘The Eggsperts’ - a tech-savvy ant, musical cat and food-loving puppy respectively. Despite their animal form, the main characters are effectively preschool-aged children in personality and behaviour. As Sam, Jazz and Tom use their unique strengths to solve problems, they reflect a sense of curiosity that preschool children can relate to in their own experiences.


In this series it is mainly the story that drives children to read and play with words, to make learning fun through narratives that reaffirm reading strategies. Design and animation help support the message of each episode, but an engaging story will hold the audience’s attention and keep them waiting to see what happens next. The Eggsperts therefore combines storytelling, design and animation.

As many children will be viewing and using this as an app via Android and Apple mobile screens, finding ‘breaks’ in the story to allow for game play was crucial. At these points, a character finds a clue that helps them solve the mystery of the egg. Each one has been carefully planned to meet core learning goals, as well as keep the momentum of the story going.

Though not under the typical pressures of broadcast TV, the production schedule was a whirlwind. Marrying an engaging story with an interactive app and online distribution method was a new challenge for the entire team. The script and story process happened alongside each other. Sam, Jazz and Tom were developed from the existing characters from the Reading Eggs website, with a new universe of side characters introduced per episode depending on the characters’ adventures. The production pipeline was kept conventional and in line with most 3D animated TV shows using Photoshop, Storyboard Pro, Avid, Maya, Mental Ray and Nuke.

Animation production was managed locally at Flying Bark while the animation itself was created at Xentrix animation studio in Bangalore. The eleven episode series took about a year from development and early scripting through to final mastering and completion, and about four months production time per episode.