June 23, 2006


The :30 spot stars Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce, and was created by agency Winstanley Associates in Lenox, MA, with Christian Hoagland of Redtree Productions in Boston directing.

“They gave us some information about the technology and let us go,” explains Synthesis creative director Aaron Beaucher. “We came up with this 3D animated gelatinous wall of spherical molecules. The look required literally millions of 3D particles and huge renders. Particle animation is always a challenge to control, and that interior wall alone took a long time to complete.”

The spot was shot in HD and begins with a stormy sky flashing over a barren landscape, littered with partially deflated basketballs. A hooded figure steps into the grim scene, identified only by the single word stenciled across the back of his sweatshirt. As Pierce looks up, a fully inflated basketball drops from the sky. As the ball strikes the pavement, the camera travels inside, revealing an impenetrable wall of spherical “Nitroflate” molecules.

Beaucher and the Synthesis team used Autodesk Maya and Eyeon’s Digital Fusion to create the ball’s molecular fortress interior.

“The client was very clear that the journey inside the ball and back not suggest the escape of any air,” says Beaucher. “That task was more difficult than it might sound. We had to transition in and out of the ball in about :10 while conveying how the technology works, but it cannot look like air is coming out as the camera does. In the end, we accomplished the look with a dramatic pull back.”

Autodesk’s Flame and Smoke were used on the spot, which was edited by David Oberdoester on an Avid. Mark Thompson served as 3D animator.

Dreamscape Music in Philadelphia handled the soundtrack.