‘Smarter Birds’ depicts parents
reading and playing with their children while three lively feathered friends glide
and swoop from frame to frame. The birds represent the three foundations of
First 5: talking, reading and singing.
Lisha says, “We had to look
at the birds as a cast; they all had to complement each other. Fraser was great
about providing us with a vision about their personalities. Bruce [Dundore,
Fraser’s Creative Director] even created a character poem for each one!”
Once the birds’ identities
were set in stone, The Mill’s design team embarked on a meticulous animation process.
Done mostly in Flash, the spot was cel animated and hand drawn, frame by frame.
The characters were then
woven seamlessly into the live action footage, a process led by 2D Lead Artist Tom
Van Dop who applied light effects, contact shadows and lens flares in addition
to painting out the highlights. Lisha comments, “The details in the compositing
played a vital role in this piece. Tom did a great job augmenting existing
elements while adding new ones as well.”
The icing on the cake: the cheerful
audio track, whose inescapable lightheartedness was a suggestion from Lisha – a
ukulele player herself!