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Fun with the Singapore Team

One of the things I love about working with all the local teams around the world is how we all have fun at each other’s expense. Recently, on the CS4 launch tour, my coworker Paul Burnett made jokes about presenting in Singapore wearing a pink tutu. Mongchee, who organizes the events in the Singapore / Malaysia region, was only happy to oblige:

Click here to download the picture.

Well, we couldn’t pass up this opportunity to get even, seeing how we had the opportunity to present in Singapore that same week…

The day we landed in Singapore, I began working on a “special” demo to use during the shootout, and Mongchee was going to be my star. the first idea to come to mind was to use images of a Japanese doll line (from Sekiguchi) and made famous in America by Mattel. Here’s a copy of an original TV commercial that was played incessantly when I was around 8 years old:

I used the theme music from the ad as a starting point, and began modifying an image of a Monchichi doll in Photoshop to suit my evil purposes:

monchichi blog.jpg
Original Image

mongchee blog.jpg
My Willing Victim, I Mean Superstar!

Mongchichi finished blog.jpg
Mongchi is now a MongChiChi!

This was a pretty straightforward job in Photoshop. I used a total of 4 layers – the original image, the pic of Mongchee, a layer with the girl doll’s hair cut out, and a layer with the girl body cut out. The hair and body were there to let me be a little lazy when isolating Mongchee’s features – it prevented bleed in of her hair or chin over the fur. I used Clone Stamp on the original face to remove it, and a Luminosity blending mode to blend Mongchee’s features onto the doll.

Close-up of the Face

Now, I ran out of time to do anything too elaborate when animating this. I was actually working on this backstage while Tim and Rufus were presenting. Luckily, the Puppet Tool in After Effects is very quick to use. First, I created a simple animated background using Shape Layers and some simple rotation. Next, I imported my Mongchichi picture in, with the background transparent. Using the Puppet Tool, I added control pins on both dolls. I also imported a snippet of the theme music (captured from the YouTube video using Soundbooth.)

I also used Fireworks (Thanks Paul, who suggested it) to get a Heart shape. The text is a separate layer, parented to the heart shape for animation.

To get multiple camera angles, I duplicated the composition, made the layers 3D, and added different cameras. I created a Premiere Pro project, and imported all the comps in using Dynamic Link. Finally, I added the original picture to the beginning of the video.

This is still very rough, but the crowd in Singapore enjoyed it, and Mongchee definitely enjoyed being my star! 🙂 Check it out:

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