archiving Tomb Raider one pixel at a time
Animal Logic Digitising Lara Croft


In this, the fourth of the highly successful Lucozade ads, we see yet more improvements in the animation of the sexy adventuress, Lara Croft.

The end result fulfils not only every digital fantasy for the Animal Logic animation team but the agility, stamina and fitness of a high-powered athlete - with of course, the obligatory pulse-racing appeal that has personified Lara Croft to date.

The latest in the Lara Croft TVC series continues the story of the cyber heroine, who at the end of the last spot, faced a pack of angry dogs (view the webpage here). At the start of this newest spot we find Lara facing this same pack of rabid beasts. Using almost acrobatically impossible moves, Lara manages to escape once again with the help of her energy packed Lucozade drink, only to face another life-threatening adventure.

"The script is a classic fight of good versus evil", says VFX Producer Melinda Jones. In moves that look so easy in the digital realm, the technologically advanced heroine escapes the dogs by the skin of her Lucozade with a series of twists, turns, forward rolls and backflips, to land on the neck of a gargoyle that has come to life.

What sets this particular spot apart from the previous are the 3D techniques that have been used to evolve the breadth of movement of the Lara character: "The model was never originally designed to do the complicated moves the Director wanted her to do in these sequences," says Jones.

Derek Doyle, Ogilvy & Mather, Ireland's Producer on the job says the Agency's aim with this version was to advance the creative and the animation beyond anything they had done previously, "A big part of the credit is due to Animal Logic for their work on the animation".

The 3D team of animators at Animal Logic improved on the original Lara model of four years ago, reworking her so she would have the flexibility needed to sustain the director's vision.

"We wanted to keep the same look and feel and similar environments as the very first Lara Croft commercial," says Jones. "The original model was always very angular; this time we've smoothed her out so she's less game-like and more like an animated character in her own right."

Working from a distance was not an issue for the Ireland based agency, says Doyle. And although O&M has worked with Animal Logic on a previous project, it was a first time experience for him. He says that, based on his experience, he will happily work with overseas facilities again.

"Because of the time difference, we'd respond to the work sent through by Animal Logic and by the end of our working day the updates had been completed. So it was like double the work in one day."

Avid Lara fans are in for a treat with the final TVC which includes a classic moment as Lara backflips onto the gargoyle which is, according to Jones, "reminiscent of the Matrix camera technique capturing a frozen moment."

Copyright Animal Logic