Nov 10

Animation in Advertising

Editor’s note: It was an epic Show & Tell this week. The first part was Marine’s presentation on the use of animation in advertising. Stay tuned for part 2 with all the rest of the headlines and discussion.

I have a certain passion for animation and whilst doing some research on the use of animation in advertising, Here are a few great ads that I thought I would share with you. I was really struck by the fact that animation is actually a very efficient element/tool for brands that wish to communicate. In fact, animation develops consumers’ imagination, it can be adaptable and become top of mind in consumers’ mind and has also a strong capacity to touch an audience by approaching serious matters in a sympathetic way…

Enough about the theory, here are three ads I have chosen to share:

Amnesty International: Signatures

The first one is an ad done by TBWA for Amnesty International called “Signatures” which speaks from itself, which I found stunning and moving just by using a nice stylish illustration. When interviewing the artistic director Stéphane Gaubert he explained that their choice went towards black and white animation because they thought a simple but fresh illustration would have a great impact on people’s mind, reaching their sympathy. In terms of results the charity got great reviews with 600,000 views on YouTube and €1.8 millions of free diffusions and press articles.

AIDS: Zizi graffitis

The next ad is also one from TBWA for AIDS this time called “Zizi graffitis” which is really sweet and funny. When I interviewed Ingrid Varetz, the creative director who worked on the ad, she explained that animation was the base of their concept, she said “it seemed to me appropriate to use sexual graffiti which is usually found in schools in order to talk to the youth and encourage them to wear condoms. The results for this ad were amazing with 1 million views in a week, 8.5 millions in September so for those who will tell me, this ad is so French, I say, ‘well it worked!’”

Now another way of approaching the same subject but in a very different direction and I personally didn’t like it at all but I will let you judge from yourselves. I just thought it’s a bit wrong to associate mass murderers with people who are HIV-positive

Facebook: Unfriend Coal

The last one I would like to share is an ad from Greenpeace which came out strategically a few weeks before the film “The Social Network”. Light, funny and entertaining it shows you how Facebook’s creator is not doing the right choice by using coal instead of wind farms.

Nov 09

Adventures in Lip-sync: Part 2

This post follows on from Adventures in Lip-sync: Part 1

So, at this stage, we’ve got a string of gibberish from Repeat After Me and not much else. To get this working there’s four key ingredients:

  • the audio soundtrack;
  • the phoneme info from Repeat After Me;
  • the graphic representations of the mouth shapes (visemes);
  • and a dictionary to translate one to the other.

All I need to do is hook them up.

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Oct 09

Adventures in Lip-sync: Part 1

Recently I’ve been working on an animation for the pharma division of Harte-Hanks. It’s in our classic MZ-stylee and it’s been fun doing some old-school 2d Flash animation. Zoe’s given me some great illustrations to work with and Charlie’s imagination has been running riot with karate-chopping leaps and flabby men on treadmills. Lots of tweens, lots of Graphic symbols, lots and lots of keyframes. I’ve also gotten to play with CS4′s new IK bones for some of the sequences too but that’s a whole other post.

From the outset though, I’ve been procrastinating about lip-syncing the narrator’s voice-over with the character. My rationale was that any edits to the timing would mean re-doing work… always fun, so best leave it til last, but really it just seemed like it’d be an arduous time-consuming manual task. In all the years I’ve been doing animation in Flash I’ve never found an easy way of doing this. Animation is a craft and it seems the only solution to most tasks is put some time and love into it. That said, code is your friend (and a cruel, cruel mistress) that has often helped avoid the monkey work.

So I went looking for a pre-existing solution… First port of call, as always, was “The Animator’s Survival Kit” by Richard Williams (if you don’t own it, get it!). Then some Googling that rapidly disappeared down the rabbit hole of visemes, phonemes and natural language simulation dissertations. Whew! No easy answers there either.

At the last Bristol FUG, I had a good chat with master-animator Dave Cropley (from Evans & Finch) about how he does it. He pointed me towards software called Magpie that seems to be the standard in the 3d animation world. Nothing seemed to exist in the Flash/ActionScript world though so I decided to roll my own.

Here’s how I did it…

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