Rethinking Santa Claus in 3D

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Tue, 12/13/2011 - 19:00 -- Nick Dager

Earlier this year Walton Isaacson was hired to create a holiday ad for Philips Norelco’s new SensoTouch 3D rechargeable razor. They decided to re-imagine one of Norelco’s most popular holiday ads of all time. The long-running original was known for a stop-motion Santa that sledded through the snow atop one of their products. It is widely regarded as a classic. For the new :15 to :30 second spots the firm wanted to imitate the original’s look but incorporate a new twist. This time the razor would be 3D. That’s where re:think studios – a 3D design modeling and animation company based in Chicago – came in. To create the razor and many of the matte backgrounds that would surround it re:think turned to modo – a trusted ally in their 3D workflow. For years re:think has been using modo on 75-80 percent of their workload. This made the software a perfect choice for projects like Norelco’s that required tight turnarounds. modo’s highly intuitive features allowed the firm’s artists to compose light and model scenes for the new spot quickly and at high levels of quality. “We use modo almost exclusively for our photo-real rendered content ” says Brian Bullock director of CGI and partner at re:think studios. “Creating great CG can be very difficult and time consuming but with modo we never have to worry about quality or pushing deadlines because of slow render times. The speed of the renderer alone helps keep us relevant in this hyper-competitive world of advertising and design.” One of re:think’s favorite features in modo is the preview render feature which helps artists quickly see what their edits will look like in their final render. As visual storytellers this is important as they are able to transfer their ideas from their minds to their computers with speed and efficiency. Their clients count on it especially when the ad in question needs to be produced in a holiday-like rush. “Modo is blazing fast ” says Bullock. “And with the deadline we had on this spot we needed every minute. I vote we put modo on the nice list.” The spot can be seen nationwide on outlets like Fox CBS MTV Adult Swim ESPN Comedy Central etc. It can also be viewed online at re:think’s Vimeo page: Luxology