The New York Lottery celebrates the holidays in a unique way. It’s that time of year when everything special will be in the air – when everything, even victory, seems conceivable.
In a short dubbed “Special Delivery,” the New York Lottery, as well as McCann New York, hired a bunch of forest creatures to deliver a little Christmas joy to an idyllic wildlife reserve to introduce this year’s seasonal Scuff Games. A loving park ranger loses her Scratch-Off on his way home for Christmas, which sets the tone for the narrative. But there was a smidgeon of magic in the air, which is fortunate for her. The ticket is rescued by a rabbit, who collaborates with a few other animal buddies. They make their way across a cold winter environment together in order to secure the ticket.
“By working closely with Director Ben Smith as well as Editor Ryan McKenna to develop a good previs that could guide the shoot, we were able to maximise the time we had,” says Lead Animator Katie Yancey. “We were able to jump right into animation from previs while the filming was still going on even though we had previously locked down what each shot would look like.” This well-executed pre-production gave us the opportunity we needed to fine-tune the animation to the level of realism necessary for the project.”
The shot took place over 2 days within woods of upstate New York, with wildly varying weather conditions on both days.
The animation and 2D teams were then tasked with flawlessly blending live-action and CG material to bring a Rabbit, Bird, Turtle, Deer, and Raccoon to life.
“Using a mix of Maya and Houdini, we combined both real and CG animals, matching them to look to live in the same universe,” says lead CG artist Ed Boldero. “Our ultimate objective was to use our skills to give the tale a feeling of enchantment while keeping hyperrealism.”
The VFX team masterfully produced a fully CGI Bird and Deer, while complementing live-action footage with animated CGI parts for the rabbit, turtle, and raccoon, using The Mill’s enormous catalogue of CGI animal assets.