Studio Zoo


60 second spot

The backstory to this job was the insane deadline. We were the only company the client could find that were prepared to take it on. This job features dozens of CG-creatures and epic natural environments. It was declined by all the other international and local companies who the client approached because of the immovable Christmas deadline.

We brought in five VFX vendors and managed to deliver a complex job in record time. At any one point there were over 30 artists based in South Africa, Canada, the US and India working on the project. Many of the techniques used are taken from feature film production. For example, terrestrial lidar (laser scanning) was used to scan the baobab tree, and aerial lidar was used to scan the canyon.

Seventeen realistically-textured creatures were developed as a base from which to create herds of CG animals. The animals' look was based loosely on Pixar’s shot film “Piper” - stylised animals which can emote, rendered with realistic textures.


To speed up production, animation began with low-resolution ‘proxy-characters’, which were replaced with final creatures as they were completed. To manage and collaborate with all the production partners, we made use of SHOTGUN, a cloud-based software suite that enabled us to share assets, conduct internal reviews and manage version control. The director, Hilton, and the client, DStv, were based in different cities. For approvals we made use of CineSync, advanced screen-sharing software which made it feel like the director was in the room with them.

We also supplied key visuals to the ATL agency Ogilvy, snippets to the DStv’s in-house digital team to use as GIFs, and custom elements for the promo team.