PandaPanther husband and wife duo Jonathan Garin and Naomi Nishimura, in conjunction with 72andSunny, directed a 2:00 minute promo spot for Activision's new entertainment property "Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure," which was released on Oct. 16th in North America. The promo, which was created to illustrate the Skylanders' back story, can be seen as a :90 spot on TV and online. The full 2:00 piece will be shown in theaters as a stereoscopic 3D trailer before the upcoming Puss In Boots 3D motion picture.
72andSunny turned to PandaPanther and gave the directors a chance to showcase their creativity and skills. They quickly scaled up, assembling an all-star team of 40+ artists to work over a three-month period. Everything, from the overall flow to the choreography of the battle scenes to how the two characters were sitting in the opening scene, was the product of the close collaboration between Garin and Nishimura, 72andSunny, and Activision.
"We had to make sure this made sense to people - that they understood what was happening, who the bad guy was, and what the conflict was," said Garin. "72andSunny has always been consistent in making sure that their animation pieces makes sense and flow right. Activision, for their part, does a lot of this sort of character animation, so they are looking at what we give them with far more scrutiny than most big companies would."
In addition to the story, PandaPanther had to adapt the on screen (or another word for Broadcast) look and feel of the characters - which initially were more suitable for the game consoles on which they had lived - to the more personal world of cinema. "When we started the project, the characters were in a very videogame-like state," noted Garin. "Our largest initial task was polishing the characters so that they fit into the more epic, cinematic world that we were creating, which was more realistic, with more details."
The Skylander project follows work that PandaPanther had previously done with 72andSunny for Zune.
"We have a great relationship with 72andSunny and are excited to partner again with them on Skylanders Spyro's Adventure," noted Nishimura. "We had an awesome relationship with the agency throughout. Whenever they suggested a change or anything else, it really did make things better.
The project again validates the special dynamic shared by Garin and Nishimura. "Naomi and I can be looking at the same thing on the same screen, but we'll be seeing totally different things," stated Garin. "I notice more of the animation details - the motion, the pacing, the editing; while Naomi makes sure that the textures, balance, colors - all the little details of the overall look and finish, are in line. While we cross check each other a lot, at this point we know what the other is good at and trust the other to work unhindered."
Given the success of this massive project, PandaPanther has ambitious plans for the future. "Now that we've expanded and adapted our pipeline, I'm hoping that we can do more long format projects," noted Nishimura. "We could see expanding further for series work or even features. This was an awesome experience and we'd love to repeat it."
Client: Activision, Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure
Spots Title: Menace
Air Date: October 2011
Creative Director(s): Jason Norcross, Bryan Rowles
Group Brand Director: Alex Schneider
Designer: Jake Kahana
Copywriter(s): Tim Wolfe, Mike Van Linda
Brand Manager(s): Ellie Schmidt, Mandy Hein
Agency Producer: Danielle Tarris
Assistant Producer: Becca Purice
Production Co.: Caviar
Director: Jorma Taccone
EP: Michael Sagol
Animation Studio: PandaPanther
Director(s): Jonathan Garin, Naomi Nishimura
Technical Direction: Adam Burke
Stereo Supervise: Navid Bagherzadeh
Design: Diana Park, Ivy Tai
Storyboard: Fred Fassberger, Paul Boanno, David Reuss
Editing: Maria Diakova, Alan Ortiz
Set Building & Art Department: Junko Shimizu, Janet Kim, Shinya Nakamura, Kazushige Yoshitake
Matte Painting: Tim Matney, Andrew Leung, Nick Giassullo
Modeling/Photogrammetry: Sam Dewitt, Eric Xu, Jeeah Huh, Ari Hwang, Herculano Fernandes, Cristina Aponte
Rigging: Jason Bikofsky, Amy Hay, Zhenting Zhou
Previs: Richard Cayton, Adam Burke
Character Animation, Han Hu (lead), Guy Bar'ely (lead), Henning Koczy, Sam Crees, Jordan Blit, Doug Litos, Danny Speck, Jeff Kim, Jared Eng
Junior Animator(s): Doug Rappin, Chris Devito, Darren Chang, Chang Pei Wu
3D Effects Animator(s): Reggie Fourmyle, Rich Magan
Lighting & Texturing: Dave White (lead), Ari Hwang, Herculano Fernandes, Laura Sayan Gabai, Lucy Choi, Christina Ku, Jeeah Huh, Carl Fong, Cristina Aponte (intern)
Compositing: Matt St. Leger (lead), Gerald Mark Soto, Chris Gereg, Adam Yost, Navid Bagherzadeh, Gabriel Regentin, Bryan Cobonpue, Sohee Sohn, Yingshu Lai (intern)
Producer(s): Amy Fahl, Angela Foster (director's cut)
Production Coordinator(s): Lauren Simpson, Jazeel Gayle
Production Office Manager: Erica Armstrong
Systems Rendering TD: Craig Zimmerman
EP: Asher Edwards
Lead Colorist: Mark Gethin
Lead Artist: Ben Davidson