BURBANK—FuseFX recently helped bring life
one of the country’s most recognizable college icons. Penn State University’s
Nittany Lion statue flexes its muscles and leaps from its stone pedestal in a
national television commercial promoting the school and its students as
“connected for life.” The 30-second ad, which airs during televised Penn State
athletic events, won an Emmy Award from the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the
National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It earlier won a Telly Award.
Kristian Berg, a senior producer/director with WPSU Penn State, came
up with the idea of animating the Nittany Lion statue as a way of highlighting
the bond between the school and its students and alumni. “The lion is a
powerful symbol,” he explains. “Every graduate has his or her picture taken
with the statue. It’s an emotional touchstone for all Penn Staters.” The statue
was a gift to the school from its Class of 1940 and cut from a 13-ton limestone

The commercial blends digital cinematography of the statue
with a 3D computer-animated model. The model was produced by FuseFX artists
from a minutely-detailed 3D laser scan of the statue. The cleverly executed
animation makes the statue appear to move with feline suppleness, while
retaining its sculpted form and texture. “It had to be a statue but it also had
to look like it’s alive,” said Berg. “It was fascinating to watch how well the
FuseFX team was able to blend cat and stone together.”
Credits for FuseFX go to David Altenau, VFX Supervisor; Tim Jacobsen and Casey Conroy ,
VFX Producers; Diane Macke, Production
Manager; Jamie Yu, VFX Editor; Josh Miyaji, Compositing Supervisor; Mike Kirylo, CG Supervisor; Sue Campbell, Andy Lewis and Bruce
Coy, CG Artists and Meliza Fermin,
Compositor. The project was produced for WPSU Penn State by Mindy McMahon.
About FuseFX
FuseFX is a full-service visual effects studio serving the
television, feature film and advertising industries from facilities in Burbank,
New York and Vancouver. Founded in 2006 by David Altenau, the company encompasses
a staff of more than 100 highly talented and experienced artists, producers and
support personnel. Using its refined, custom database and pipeline, the company
can accommodate numerous, high shot-count productions while delivering high-quality,
on-time results.
For more information, visit http://fusefx.com/
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