Tigar Hare Studios, a 3D animation, visual effects and graphic design house, created a 30-second, 3D animated spot using high dynamic range imaging (HDR) for Mattel’s latest small doll line, Shorties.
A trio of ultra-funky, ultra-cool and ultra-small girls, Mattel’s Shorties have it easy when it comes to sharing clothes. These dolls feature interchangeable “Pop Bods,” an array of outfits that snap on and off with a pop of the head. The Shorties display a unique style and personality, ranging from the radical skateboarder to the disco diva to the posh fashionista, and let’s not forget the embodiment of hip, their ‘kickin’ cruiser car.
Dave Hare, creative director of Tigar Hare Studios, notes the difficulty of producing the three distinct hairstyles of the girls for the spot, as Mattel wanted the styles to be unique and realistic with the hair full of shadows and highlights. In addition to the detailed hair, making the cruiser and the trendy clothing appear vibrant and colorful was no mean feat.
Creating the vivid images for the “Shorties’ spot gave Tigar Hare its first opportunity to employ HDR. Initially, the studio’s team went on set and shot multiple exposures of the back plates. Then, these multiple exposures were used to generate an HDR image format and to re-create the scene lighting in a 3D environment.
“Most of the time you’re given plates in advance, so there’s no opportunity to do HDR,” Hare explains. “It’s technically challenging to pull off-shooting all the multiple exposures, then creating a panoramic image from these shots. Basically we shot from six different angles, rotating the camera every 72 degrees.”
Hare remarks that regular computer images lack the dynamic range of lighting that objects actually hold under real conditions. “If you shoot a very fast exposure, things that are lighted from artificial sources will appear much darker than they would under normal daylight conditions. You’ll see more detail in the surrounding background than on the on the objects you are shooting. If you shoot wide open, you’re going to expose a great deal of light and see a lot of details in the shadows. HDR gives you rich, colorful detail that looks much more real in terms of the lighting.”
Tigar Hare used Discreet’s 3ds max 6.0 for the animation. The life-like hairstyles were created with Hairfx, a procedural plug-in for max from Turbo Squid, and the rendering was done with V-Ray, a ray tracing renderer for max.
The studio also recently animated a 30-second spot titled “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” for Fisher Price’s game inspired by the pop hit. In this game, kids are challenged to help four animals get to the picnic without waking the lion.