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Method Helps Inspire Ron Howard’s Imagin8ion


Method artists create a VFX-laden spot/trailer to promote Howard’s Project Imagin8ion

Method Helps Inspire Ron Howard’s Imagin8ion

Visual effects company Method Studios recently completed work on a :30 commercial entitled “Parade” for Canon via agency Grey NY. The :60 version is set to air early June. This visual effects-heavy spot, directed by Dante Ariola for MJZ, stars director Ron Howard and features a fantastical city landscape filled with astronauts, floating firefighters and a diamond-skinned dog to name a few unusual sights. The spot serves as a trailer to promote Howard’s “Project Imagin8ion,” which is the first user-generated contest in history to inspire a Hollywood short film. Eight imaginative photos will be selected to set the stage for his next production.


The Method team was tasked with bringing the contest itself to life, which was no small feat. “Dante has a big imagination himself,” commented Method CG Supervisor Jason Schugardt. “The spot is about Ron’s imagination, so we researched movies from his past for inspiration and we really went for it.”


Inevitably, the sheer number of resulting CG elements posed challenges to the team. “There are so many whimsical creatures and objects, some reflective, like the 70-carat diamond dog,” said Schugardt. “Fitting all of them in was definitely challenging.”


Method’s Alex Cannon worked with Production Designer Christopher Glass and Ariola to storyboard the spot in Pre-viz, which helped them to block the myriad characters out as well as help shape the tone of the spot.


The plates (all shot on Canon equipment) were shot on a particularly overcast day, which led to flat lighting, prompting the Method team to make lighting enhancements throughout the spot. “We did sky replacements and separated facets of building, adding light in places to tell the story of where the light was,” offered Schugardt. “Once we did that, the spot really popped.”


Animation for the spot was created in Maya, effects were created in Houdini and fire was done in Fume FX (a plugin for Autodesk’s 3ds Max). The spot was rendered in V-Ray.


Says Schugardt, “It was great working on such a VFX-heavy project and especially cool bringing Ron’s imagination to life. We’re all really pleased with how it came out and I can’t wait to see the short film.”



Title: Parade


Client: Canon

Director: Dante Ariola

Agency: Grey NY
Producer: Lauren Tuttman

Ari Halper – SVP Creative Director
Steve Krauss – SVP Creative Director
Stu Mair – Associate Creative Director
Eric King – Associate Creative Director
Elinor Buchler – Art Director
Kent Koren –Copywriter
DOP – Christopher Soos

Prod Co:  MJZ
Producer: Natalie Hill
Editing co: Peepshow Editorial
Editor: Andrea MacArthur

Post Production: Method Studios

Sr. Creative Director – Dan Glass

Sr. Executive Producer – Gabby Gourier


Visual FX Supervisor – Phil Brennan

CG Supervisor – Jason Schugardt


Producer – Darcie Muangman

Coordinator – Anastasia Von Rahl


Lead Compositor – Tim Davies


Jonathan Lagache

Jeff Allen

Caitlin Content


CG Modelers:

Masa Narita

Lim Bunupuradah

Alex Whang

Toshihiro Sakamaki


Texture Artists:

Brian Ripley

Josh Frontino

Ryan Reeb



Rick Grandy

George Saavedra



Fabio Zapata

Lauren Van Houten

Tom Stanton



Steward Burris

Alex Cannon

Les Major

Jonah Austin



David Lo

Alex Lee

Kris Cabrera

David Chan

David Godwin



Brett Angelillis

Hiro Okubo

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Method Studios Los Angeles, Mon, 19 Mar 2012 22:05:06 GMT