Z Animation Builds for Longford Homes

Claire Armstrong and Joel Parod, Z Animation’s husband-and-wife directing duo, have wrapped up production on a southwest-flavored, 30-second animated spot for Longford Homes, a residential and commercial developer operating out of Albuquerqe, New Mexico.

Peter Barg of Z Animation exec produced "Home of Your Dreams," a client-direct commercial aimed at first-time home buyers. The spot highlights the "Longford Design System," which gives clients the feeling of a custom-bought home experience by allowing them to alter and personalize floor plans online.

Claire Armstrong’s simple line animation designs capture the spice of New Mexico with rustic-colored backgrounds and catchy writing courtesy of freelance copywriter Jeff Goetz, who supplied the first-home-fantasy tagline, "You dream it, we build it."

The spot opens with the light-hearted banter of a young couple as they tailor a plan for the house of their future online. The scene then dives into the computer, taking the viewer on-site to the house with animation that bends and changes to display all of the possible constructions for this new residence.

Co-director Joel Parod served as background artist for Warner Bros.’ The Iron Giant and two seasons of Duck Dodgers, and as art director for Wild Brain’s Annie Award-winning short, Hubert’s Brain. He created the storyboards for "Home of Your Dreams," in addition to animating the key-frames and painting the earth-tone Santa Fe backgrounds on canvas.

The first step in production involved scanning the storyboards into Leitch Technology’s DPS Velocity editing system as an animatic so the basic voice and music timings could be established. Then, a pencil test was generated using Digicel Flipbook to test the rough motion. Claire Armstrong, who recently directed animated spots for Charmin bath tissue and Ortho Tri Cyclen-Lo, hand-animated all of the action in graphite pencil. Each scene and background was then scanned into Cambridge Animation Systems Animo 6.0, where camera angles, compositing and color were finessed. The final editing and rendering was done using Velocity.

Music for the spot was composed by Ben Zebelman and produced by Jan Horowitz of DHMA/New York. Stan Piekarski of Vision Tracks in St. Louis served as sound designer and mixer. Cambridge Animation Systems’ Cormac Slevin provided Animo support, and Debbie Forster and Anna Saunders were on animation clean-up duty.