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HomeCraftsAnimationNice Shoes Creative Studio Creates CG Dog for Frontline Plus

Nice Shoes Creative Studio Creates CG Dog for Frontline Plus


LR-Frontline_1Nice Shoes Creative Studio recently partnered with Saatchi & Saatchi on a 30-second spot for Frontline Plus called “Fight Like a Little Green Man.”

The spot depicts a dog battling off fleas as effectively as Frontline Plus, personified by a clan of little green men. The challenge to solve was how to get a dog to behave like a ninja.

Creative director Harry Dorrington proposed a scenario in which live-action footage and a photoreal 3D dog were brought together.

“We wanted to do something that would bring a new dimension to the campaign so we developed the ‘Fight Like a Little Green Man’ story that involved having a real dog mimicking the Little Green Men ninja moves as he’s being attacked by fleas and ticks,” explained Saatchi & Saatchi SVP creative director Carol Fiorino. “We enlisted the talent of Harry Dorrington at Nice Shoes Creative Studio to tackle this challenging CG animation sequence. Harry managed to combine live action with CG seamlessly to create totally believable and graceful choreography of a beagle doing Kung Fu moves in mid air.”

Warren Kushner of K Films directed the spot. The dog was filmed at a high frame rate with the Phantom 4K Flex and RED cameras and also captured with a 3D scanner. The scan was produced by Ron Bedard of Industrial Pixel LA.

“The dog was trained to perform certain moves, but there’s obviously a few restrictions in trying to capture a dog roundhouse kicking a flea,” said Dorrington. “The information that we captured in camera along with the data from scanning became the basis of the more ambitious moves, which we then keyframe animated.”

The team created the animations in Maya while also utilizing Maya fur to realistically portray the dog’s coat. It was rendered in Arnold and composited in Nuke. They then animated the Frontline Plus ninjas taking out their flea enemies, which had to be rendered with anatomic precision. Finally, the spot was graded by Nice Shoes colorist Chris Ryan, who provided a natural look to the piece that helped unify the live action and visual effects.

“We had a lot of details going into how the dog’s skin and eyes move in order to make him look realistic, but we also needed to bring in a bit of character into his performance while making it consistent with the live-action shots. I’ve collaborated with Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness on quite a few of these. This project was one of the most complex, but a lot easier than teaching a dog to punch and kick,” said Dorrington.

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