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Engine Room is in mid-season production on an innovative comic-book style campaign with Gary Hartley and his Fox Sports Graphics team for this season’s NASCAR on FOX. Each week ER is producing a 30 second custom tease that recaps the thrills, spills and upsets from the previous week’s NASCAR race. These largely animated teases are script-to-air on a five-day schedule and include a full package of driver bumps and additional graphics for the Fox On-Air team to utilize during their weekly broadcasts.

Creative talent was the key in both designing and executing this high profile project, and for that ER leaned on its own Dave Piedra to spearhead the creative effort. Illustrators Frank Gomez and Iain Slack, helped define a striking pop-art look for the tracks, race cars and the drivers themselves. Within days of network sign-off, Dan Schmit joined Hartley traveling to the legendary Daytona Raceway to film the competing NASCAR drivers for their comic book alter egos. With these key assets in place, the ER home team headed by EP Michael Caplan began production, utilizing an appropriately high intensity color palate.

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Unique to the spots are the custom 3D car animations for each driver. Hand drawn textures and a custom toon-shader result in a truly different look for each of these graphic car renderings. Highlights of prior week’s races are reenacted and rendered in 3D using Maya and then each comic book panel, consisting of cars racing/crashing, track establishing, driver interiors and hero driver poses, is assembled by Compositing Supervisor Eric Heavens, who brings it all together in After Effects CS5. The first tease rolled out in February in time for the Daytona 500 and the 14 episode series will continue until June.