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MPC Creates an Alternate Universe for Dell

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MPC's new spot for Dell, "Thomas"
MPC’s new spot for Dell, “Thomas”

MPC recently delivered “Thomas” – a photo-real, VFX-fueled, 60-second spot for Dell that reveals the transformational power of imagination. The creative effort called for a strong partnership between MPC, live-action production company Furlined and director Bjoern Ruehmann.

MPC leveraged its proprietary software, “Furtility,” to create photorealistic hair, fur, feathers and other details, providing easy integration with the live-action footage. “We had a big advantage in this spot,” MPC head of production said Derek Macleod-Veilleux. “Over the years we’ve researched and developed quite a bit of software for our feature film side and have been able to utilize and apply these technological advances to commercials. Without the use of Furtility, I don’t think we would have captured the nuances of these characters as easily.”

MPC took special care to define the personalities of all anthropomorphic characters, giving them real life and vitality. “The key to a spot like this is to capture the whimsical qualities of the animated pieces and connect those to the real world,” explained MPC NY managing director, Justin Lane. “The team worked painstakingly at designing and expressing personality in all of the characters and it truly shows…you really want to learn more about each of them.”

“The most important personality trait of the toad is that he is a bit grumpy and irritable,” said 2D lead Gigi Ng. “We tried to accentuate this with his mouth line by making it more prominent, but with a subtle frown. We also emphasized how his eyes furrow and are never really open wide. He’s never curious, but always suspicious. By contrast, the rabbit character is always wide-eyed and alert.”

“Our priority was also researching anatomy to capture a perfect, believable look,” said CG lead Bill Dorais. “For the toad we were trying to get the blinks to look correct, giving him a nictitating membrane, a thin skin that covers the eye. Our philosophy going into this was that the more details we added, the more believable the piece would be.”

The resulting spot proved to be both visually imaginative and a great collaboration with agency Y&R.

“To work with MPC on the Dell commercial was more than great fun, it was a pleasure,” Ruhmann remarked. “Their hard work, talent and passion brought the story of Thomas and his alternate universe to life and made the weeks we worked together an exciting adventure. They have a great share in the magic of this spot.”

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