We were thrilled to collaborate once again with Outsider directorial duo Dom&Nic to provide VFX and Colour to M&S’ new festive spot. The film features comedy duo Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders as Fairy and Duckie.
On crafting the spot Animation Director David Bryan states “Christmas commercials often provide some of the best story telling opportunities and for this year’s M&S Christmas campaign we have a new character to lead us into the festivities. Duckie (voiced by Jennifer Saunders), has seen her share of trauma from the perspective of a well-loved dog toy! She is missing an eye, her fur is well worn and her side is bursting at the seams. This back story gave us a wonderful platform to give life to an interesting and appealing character. Jennifer Saunders’ role in ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ (Edina) was a key acting reference for the shots where we see Duckie sulking.
One key visual attribute that we found particularly successful last year was that the character animation stayed respectful to the materials of which they were made from. For example, with Fairy being made of plastic we restricted the range of movement in her solid body and tried to be as efficient as possible with her posing. To counter this stiff style of action we enhanced the overall flying motion to feel as fluid as possible using nice sweepy movements while still only using key simple body poses.
Animating Duckie followed the same principles. She is constructed out of cloth and rope and that needed to be reflected in the animation. For her lip sync, we implemented a hybrid style of puppet movements with some fleshy mouth shapes to help project some of the key phonemes that make sure that the performance felt convincing but still from the perspective of a soft toy.”
You can get in touch with our VFX team via our contact page.