Inspiration and Imagination Power MPC’s Alternate Universe for Dell

Reinforcing their position as the leader in character animation (Fox’s VinnieFly BuysCadburysNarnia’s Reepicheep and Eustace the Dragon), MPC introduces “Thomas,” a photo-real VFX-fueled spot for Dell that reveals the transformative power of imagination. The creative effort highlights a strong partnership between MPC, live action production company Furlined, and Director Bjoern Ruehmann.

Click here to view the making of “Thomas”

MPC took special care to define the personalities of all anthropomorphic characters, giving them real life and vitality. “The key to a spot like this is to capture the whimsical qualities of the animated pieces and connect those to the real world,” commented MPC NY Managing Director, Justin Lane. “The team worked painstakingly at designing and expressing personality in all of the characters and it truly shows…you really want to learn more about each of them.”

“The most important personality trait of the toad is that he is a bit grumpy and irritable,” added 2D Lead Gigi Ng. “We tried to accentuate this with his mouth line by making it more prominent, but with a subtle frown. We also emphasized how his eyes furrow and are never really open wide. He’s never curious, but always suspicious. By contrast, the rabbit character is always wide-eyed and alert.”

“Our priority was also researching anatomy to capture a perfect, believable look,” said CG Lead Bill Dorais. “For the toad we were trying to get the blinks to look correct, giving him a nictitating membrane, a thin skin that covers the eye. Our philosophy going into this was that the more details we added, the more believable the piece would be.”

MPC leveraged their proprietary software “Furtility” to create photorealistic hair, fur, feathers, and other details, providing easy integration with the live action footage. “We had a big advantage in this spot. Over the years we’ve researched and developed quite a bit of software for our feature film side and have been able to utilize and apply these technological advances to commercials. Without the use of Furtility, I don’t think we would have captured the nuances of these characters as easily,” added MPC Head of Production and Producer on Dell, Derek Macleod-Veilleux.

The resulting spot proved to be both visually imaginative and a great collaboration with agency Y&R. “Thomas” also introduced Furlined Director Bjoern Ruehmann to MPC in what could be a burgeoning relationship. “To work with MPC on the Dell commercial was more than great fun, it was a pleasure,” remarked Ruhmann. Their hard work, talent and passion brought the story of Thomas and his alternate universe to life and made the weeks we worked together an exciting adventure. They have a great share in the magic of this spot.”



Client: Dell
Spot Title: “Thomas”
Air Date: February 2013

Agency: Y&R, NY
Executive Producer: Craig Jelniker
CCO: Jim Elliott
GCD: Jim Radosevic
CD/AD: Fern Cohen
CD/CW: Margot Owett

Production Company: Furlined
Director: Bjoern Ruehmann
President: Diane McArter
Senior Executive Producer: David Thorne
Producer: Leah Fleischmann
DP: Roman Vas’Yanov

Editor: Work Edit
Editor: Rich Orrick
Assistant Editor: Healy Snow
EP: Erica Thompson

Head of Production: Derek Macleod-Veilleux
Production Assistant: Lindsay Myers
VFX Supervisors: Gigi Ng, Bill Dorais
2D Lead: Gigi Ng
Nuke Lead: Alex Harding
Nuke: John Laughlin, Craig Sylvester, Sang Lee, Carl Fong, Mikael Petterson, Kelly Bruce
CG Lead: Bill Dorais
Animators: Grae Ravell, Anderson Ko, Ross Scroble, Jacob Fradkin,
Modeller/Rigger: Andres Weber
Lighters: Susie Hong, Corey Langelotti, Jimmy San, Ross Denner, Grahame Curtis
Concept Artist: Andrew Brooks
Designers: Rob Modini, Colin Hess
Other credits: Stefano Salvini, Murali Krishna

Color Grading: MPC
Colorist: Adrian Seery
Color Assistant: Dan Silverman

About MPC:

MPC is an award winning VFX and Digital studio servicing the advertising, motion picture and television industries. From its London, New York, Santa Monica, Vancouver, and Bangalore offices, MPC’s dynamic and diverse team delivers industry-defining VFX, animation, motion graphics, color grading, production, projection mapping, social and mobile application development, online advertising, data management, software R&D and pipeline development.

With a trio of integrated divisions, MPC utilizes a unified approach that drives the use of existing or newly created assets across the whole range of today’s media landscape. MPC Creative handles client projects directly with top-notch directing, CG animation and character design. MPC FX Studio is a dedicated corps of graphic and digital designers who bring clients’ visions to life. MPC Data Lab processes the content and makes it available for editing on demand. MPC is a Technicolor Company.