Award-Winning Animation Studio Blends CG With Live Action To Capture Fairytale World Of Popular Line Of Girls Toys

CHICAGO, IL – For toys as unique as the Flutterbye flying fairies, an equally dramatic ad is as important as double AA batteries. That’s why Spinmaster, makers of Flutterbye, reteamed with Calabash Animation to make “The Magic Is Brighter” – a new :30 ad that expertly blends CG animation and live action in a whimsical new spot aimed at girls whose eyes still widen at the thought of fairies and pixiedust.

“Working with Spinmaster always gets our imaginations going," Sean Henry, Calabash’s Executive Producer says. “Much of the look of this spot was driven by the beautiful photography of director Jordan Barker of Gearshift, Toronto and the perfect setting of the shoot, a classic-style mansion located in Palos Verdes, CA. The toy features colorful lights that spin as it flies and we wanted to interpret the effect in a magical way through the animation, capturing the way a fairy's wings might glint and reflect the natural light as it flies through this enchanted setting. The animation and visual effects are accentuated by the beautiful location and cinematography."

The spot begins with an animated fairy fluttering past the Flutterbye logo, which quickly transitions into a shot of two young girls running down a long hallway chasing the fairy and a trail of pixie dust. At the bottom of a long staircase their eyes widen as they spy the animated Flutterbye fairy. A voiceover reads a poem highlighting all of the Flutterbye features, as Calabash’s animated fairy and pixie dust blend seamlessly with shots of the actual toy in action. The combination of digital animation, an adorable cast, and elegant cinematography brings the magical world of Flutterbye to life.

For Wayne Brejcha, Calabash’s Creative Director, it was critical that the lighting of the animation and the live action match perfectly -- no easy feat given how the light darkens as the live action moves from the airy, open hallway to a bedroom.

“The fairy had to appear to fly quite some distance through this mansion -- down a long hallway, and up a fantastic open stairwell,” Brejcha says. “Because the light was different at the beginning than at the end our animation team made sure the fairy looked the right shade of blue as she floated down the hallway away from the light. We also had a dimensional trail of pixie dust that had to match a rack-focus that was part of the live action plate. We used some artfully selective motion blur on the fairy to make sure she didn't strobe, while in other shots we reduced the motion blurs a bit to preserve the clarity of the image.”

Adds Henry, “To help keep the CG from seeming stiff and artificial, we start with a pass of hand-drawn animation that our CG animators then use as a guide. 2D animators often think more naturally in terms of gesture and silhouette and this approach works extremely well for characters that need to glide around fluidly. From there, our CG team adds the realism we could not have achieved through drawn animation alone. This 'hybrid' approach provides a nice balance that has proven especially effective for Flutterbye’s ads.”

About Calabash Animation:
Led by Creative Director Wayne Brejcha and Executive Producer Sean Henry, Calabash Animation is the Chicago, IL-based animation production studio known for its award-winning animation for the advertising and entertainment industries. Calabash Animation is perhaps best known for their creative character animation and development of some of America’s most beloved brand icons. In addition to it advertising working, the company has also produced several acclaimed short films, including ‘’Stubble Trouble,’’ which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2002.

Web Resources:
Click here to see the Flutterbye “The Magic Is Brighter” spot:

Click here for more info about Calabash Animation:

Creative Credits:
Client: Spinmaster
Project: Flutterbye “The Magic Is Brighter” (:30)

Agency: Spinmaster (in-house)

Production Company: Gearshift, Toronto, Ont.
Director: Jordan Barker
Exec. Producer: Zac Reaney-Barker
Director of Photography: Bengt Jonsson

Animation: Calabash Animation, Chicago, IL
Creative Director: Wayne Brejcha
Executive Producer: Sean Henry

Editorial: Married to Giants, Toronto, Ont.
Editor: Paul Skinner
Exec. Producer: Denise Shearer