The US-based retail chain Kohl’s just broke a 2016 holiday campaign, the newest work for the brand from Anomaly, which features loveable CG-animated characters created by the effects, animation and design teams at MPC New York. The campaign was directed by EMMY Award-winning director Lance Acord of Park Pictures.
In “Dinner,” a harried mom, just back from Kohl’s, struggles to get a holiday meal on the table. Two elves decide to pitch in, only to be superseded by the teenage son, who unexpectedly comes to her aid. In “Dress,” a young girl can’t find anything right to wear to a family gathering. Three fashion-conscious elves fly in and start to make her a dress until big sister saves the day by pulling a cute black and white outfit out of a Kohl’s shopping bag.
And in “Parking (Doll),” a forgetful father leaves the prized American Girl doll his daughter wants in a shopping cart as he leaves the Kohl’s store. A squirrel spies the mistake from a tree and enlists one of Santa’s reindeer to chase him down, but a quick-thinking store associate does it for them.
MPC New York VFX Supervisor Chris Bernier says a lot of care went into making sure the animated characters portrayed just the right look. “The biggest challenge for us was to come up with an execution that paid homage to some of the classic animated holiday characters while keeping them current and unique,” he explains. “We looked at plenty of references from a wide array of styles and decided to adopt a more physical, almost stop-motion approach. We wanted the characters to have weight and form and a tangible nature to balance against their more exaggerated animation style.”
MPC New York’s team, which also included Animation Supervisor Graeme Revell and 2D VFX Artist Tobey Lindbäck, worked closely with Acord on the character design. The campaign, Bernier adds, “tapped the entire gamut of what MPC has to offer. People often think of us for our photo-real effects, so I was particularly excited about being able to tap into more ‘cartoony’ characters while still keeping them living in the world of their live-action plates.”
MPC’s team developed the characters from start to finish, including sketch/design, color treatment, texture, animation style and render comp integration. The spots were graded at the start of the process by Colorist Adrian Seery to set an overall look, then again after the composites were completed to ensure that everything came out picture perfect.
Jackie Kelman Bisbee
Camila De Biaggi
Phil Akka, Nick Tanner, Karen Weiss, Tobey Lindbäck
Anna Cardillo, Darren Chang, Graeme Revell, Jacob Fradkin, Jacques Khouri, Jamil Lahham, Joshua Merck, Angela Carafas, Madeline Jackson
Ashley Bernes, Chris Bernier, Chris Ribar, Francisco Fraga, Gera Rusinoff, Jimmy San, Kai Wang, Liz Martin, Laura Sayan, Michael Siegel, Monica Manalo, Ramiro Gomez, Reginald Emvula, Sue Jang, Tiago Dias, Tuba Yalçin, William Atkin, David Avetisov, Michael Nieves, Alain Cisneros, Brianna Hamilton