Bicoastal creative production company Stardust Studios recently produced a spot for the New York-based creatives from advertising agency Publicis and their clients at Nestle's Jamba Juice. The :30 spot directed by Stardust's Santa Monica-based creative director Brad Tucker debuted in targeted broadcast and cable TV outlets earlier this summer, and continues to air widely.
In the 3D animated spot, a Jamba Juicie bottle opens, releasing a swirling cornucopia of vibrant fruit pieces which form into the shape of a person. To the sounds of the song "Fruit Machine" by The Ting Tings, the animated character swings, swims, plays volleyball and soccer, and the fruit pieces then form the Jamba Juice logo before swirling back into the bottle. Female voiceover artist Di Johnston tags the spot, "Introducing Jamba Smoothies and Juicies, now available at your local grocer. Jamba: Live fruitfully."
"The agency brief was to create a fun environment, made of fruit, that could come to life and communicate that Jamba Juice is a drink for a healthy, lively, energizing lifestyle," said Tucker.
Based on the agency's positive response to their initial designs ideas and storyboards, Tucker and his colleagues organized a motion capture shoot at Santa Monica-based Perspective Studios, where they shot a model performing the swinging, swimming and other actions. "The data from that shoot was then imported straight into Maya," Tucker explained. "From there, we applied the data to the 3D models to create the motions you see the characters performing in the final spot."
To create their original animated content, Tucker, Stardust art director Jonathan Wu and 3D artists Joseph Andrade, James Anderson and Chris Eckardt teamed to handle character rigging, skinning and animation in Maya. Stardust VFX supervisor Andrew Ashton then used Adobe After Effects to perform final compositing and color-grading.
According to Tucker, the biggest project challenges were getting the motion capture data to blend between characters, and also making the particles of fruit create the characters the way they were designed. "We resolved those issues through lots of R&D, and a team that really went the extra mile to figure everything out. There are no plugins here," he said, "just lots of hard work and a bunch of trial and error.
"The thing I'm most pleased with," Tucker continued, "is that each character transitions fluidly to the next one with no hiccups. We controlled the particles in a way that made each transition believable and realistic. and we also held true to our initial designs and worked with the agency creatives and Nestle/Jamba to create a spot that worked for all of us."
For Publicis New York, the creative team consisted of creative director Simeon Roane, art director Liem Nguyen, copywriter Jeremy Filgate and executive producer Anthony Garretti. Paul Abatemarco is the executive producer for Stardust West, and Josh Libitsky produced the project for Stardust. The spot was mixed by Eric Warzecha at New York's Sound Lounge.