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Cartoon Network - Spinmaster Holiday

TV Campaign

Client: Spinmaster / Cartoon Network
Design, Direction, Production, Animation, Composite, VFX

If Bigfoot and Santa had a Lovechild

Cartoon Network partnered with Spinmaster toys to produce a fun and quirky holiday giveaway campaign where lucky winners all across America can sign up to win a literal pile of toys for Christmas. They came up with the idea of bringing this toy pile to life and turning it into a friendly and lovable creature that is traveling across America and dropping toys for kids to find. One part Bigfoot and one part Santa Claus it is only seen in glimpses as it passes through the landscapes. We were brought on to produce these spots soup to nuts. We produced and directed the shoot and conceptualized what this toy pile would look like. We also handled all of the vfx and finishing.

The Shoot

The concept of the spots was to show the toy pile traveling across America as is it was caught on camera by news crews and passerby’s. This cinema verite fake news style was a lot of fun to produce and let us approach the shoot a little looser and more free flowing than we would normally be. We kept our camera rig pretty simple and stripped down in order to be nimble like a real news crew.

Character Design

Our design team sketched out some various options for our toy pile character. It was a lot of fun figuring out different ways that it could be built from all of the different toy components and which toys made the most sense as which body parts.

Post Production

Meanwhile back at the studio our vfx team was busy building and prepping the Toy Pile creature. The creature was supposed to be built from about 25 different toys but since Spinmaster was not able to provide CAD files of any of the products we had to get clever and use a combination of 3D scanning, photogrammetry and modeling to approximate them. We then hooked these models into a custom robot rig and added some dynamics so that they would collide with each other in a realistic way instead of intersecting as the creature moved.

We then began creating animation tests to dial in the physics of how a 10 foot tall waking pile of toys moves. We wanted it to have a sort of lumbering grace like a big robot but it was also important that it didn’t feel threatening to kids at all. Once we were happy with the general movement style we 3D tracked our hero shots and started animating to them. From there on we kept working our magic and dialing in the composite.