Los Angeles, CA - (September 8, 2009) – On Friday, August 28, audiences were introduced to Eddie, a unique, animated spokesperson for Nissin Chow Mein who was brought to digital life via a rich collaboration between advertising agency Dentsu America and digital production company Zoic Studios. The commercial features the voice of preeminent actor James Hong (Blade Runner, Mulan, Kung Fu Panda).
To view the spot please visit: http://www.zoicstudios.com/#/creations/latest/118-nissin-noodle/
Dentsu America approached Zoic Studios as a creative partner to develop the animated Eddie character and oversee the commercial’s production as a whole. Working from the agency’s written character biography and general photo references, Zoic Studios hired key designers who produced distinctly different pencil sketch approaches that were then honed in collaboration with Dentsu America’s creative team.
Meanwhile, Zoic Studios vetted Craig Tanimoto of Bully Pictures for his comedy acumen to direct the live action portion of the commercial while Zoic Studios’ Loni Peristere assumed the responsibility of creating the endearing performance of “Eddie” as Director of Animation.
Once the general look and feel of Eddie was decided, digital production began. Zoic Studios VFX Supervisor Les Ekker attended the voice-over performance by James Hong and video was taken of the session so that Image Metrics (Benjamin Button) could extract the facial animation thereby providing an organic and realistic baseline from which to build authentic looking lip synch and delivery. Hong’s face, neck and hands were photographed using a custom camera with a polarized lighting rig built by Zoic’s Ekker and CG Supervisor Andy Wilkoff to capture the incredible detail and texture needed to produce surface and subsurface texture for realistic, lifelike skin. Other key details, like hair and clothing movement and aesthetics were created with simulations held up to rigorous scrutiny and exacting production standards.
With a custom, adaptive pipeline that can handle immense projects including episodic and feature film, Zoic was able to develop a realistic character with surrealistic proportions, and oversee the live action integration along with in house VFX editing and final Flame finish. Zoic was also responsible for animating the Nissin signature logo at the end of the spot.
“This was an amazing opportunity on a number of fronts,” says Zoic Studios EP/Producer Erik Press. “We poured our passion and knowledge into developing an iconic animated spokesperson for the world’s leading noodle-maker, while overseeing the production and end logo design. It worked all sides of the Zoic brand and we loved every minute of it!”
Client: Dentsu America / Nissin Foods USA
Air Date: August 28, 2009
Title: “Eddie Wise”
Production Company: Bully Pictures/Los Angeles, CA
Director: Loni Peristere
Director: Craig Tanimoto
Producer: Gary Kout
Advertising Agency: Dentsu America/Santa Monica, CA
Senior Manager/Dentsu Tokyo: Masazumi Horie
EVP/ General Manager: Mike Parise
SVP/Creative Director: Sandep Rahi
Creative Director: Brad Gantt
SVP/Group Account Director: Diane Dreyer
Producer: Rhys Demery
Account Supervisor: Chihiro Shinoda
Character Animation, VFX and VFX editing: Zoic Studios/Culver City, CA
Co-Director: Loni Peristere
EP: Steve Schofield
EP/Producer: Erik Press
VFX Supervisor Leslie Ekker
CG Supervisor: Andy Wilkoff
Producer: Erik Press
VFX Editorial: Dmitri Gueer
VFX Assistant: An Dang