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Close-Up: AnimationHead Games

The animation for Carmichael Lynch's swan-song spot for Ikea— in which a woman replaces the head of her droning dinner date with a more fitting one—came, appropriately enough, from Head Gear Animation, Toronto.

The production company worked for three and a half months to blend live-action footage with animation to create eerily lifelike noggins for the Minneapolis shop. "It was pretty involved, and a lot of things we worked really hard on are the things you don't notice," says director Steve Angel, referring to details like how a shadow falls or a body reacts to a facial movement.

Animator Drew Lightfoot created 10-inch models out of sculpting clay and latex, with tracking points to show where the person's head would be. Actors cast as the various heads were shot separately to capture facial expressions, and the animators then digitally inserted the heads into the animation footage.

Angel says the trickiest part was getting the actors to "tone down" and behave naturally, particularly for the shot in which the woman chooses the new head from a closet full of candidates. "They were all acting sep arately, with [their own] eyeline," he says. "Each had to look up at her, and be hopeful and then disappointed in the space of about a second and a half."

DGA Names Nominees

NEW YORK—Three first-time nominees are among the five competing for the Directors Guild of America's award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials.

Craig Gilles pie of Morton Jankel Zander was nominated for work on Citi bank's "Live richly" campaign, "Kiss Reunion" for Holiday Inn Ex press, "Plumber" for Ameritech and "Welcome Wagon" for SBC. The Musco Olives campaign earned a nomination for Bob Kerstetter of Tool of North America. And Baker Smith of Harvest was nominated for the spots "Cheryl 'n Me" for Lucky magazine, "Nail Gun" for Fox Sports, "Asylum" for Toshiba and "Birth of Scratching" for Heineken.

Joe Public (a.k.a. Adam Cameron and Simon Cole) of Headquarters scored its second DGA nom on the strength of spots for 7-Up featuring Godfrey, "Touchdown Dance School" for Cingular, "Baby Talk" for Visa and "Subtitles" for Toy ota.

With his 14th nomination, three-time winner Joe Pytka has now garnered the most nominations of any director in the category. This year he was recognized for spots in the "New York Miracle" campaign, Disney's "Pillow Talk" and "Ketchup Soup" for the Ad Council. The winner will be announced March 9 at a ceremony in Los Angeles.

DGA Names Nominees Spit Take People's Choice If You Shoot It, They Will ComeJudge and JuryNew Directors Showcase

McCann-Erickson, New York, which was quietly handed the Little Tikes business in January, is using the voices of Christie Brinkley, John Cleese and Wolfgang Puck in its first work on the $10 million ac count. The cel eb ri ties are paired with toddlers who play with a Little Tikes developmental toy. In the spot for the Buzzy Bee Mailbox, for example, Cleese discusses "proper postal correspondence." As the toddler chews on a toy letter, Cleese says, "You'll find sealing enve lopes requires quite a bit of drool." Tagline: "The way kids really play." The campaign breaks in the fourth quarter.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies has named the Top 10 commercials of the past 25 years, as decided by 25,000 TV viewers who voted in a USA Today poll. The winners: Apple Com puter's "1984," Budweiser's "Talking Frogs" and "Whassup Wasabi," The California Milk Proc essor Board's "Aaron Burr," Coca-Cola's "Mean Joe Greene," Monster.com's "When I Grow Up," Pepsi's "Jackson Street" and "Security Camera," and Wendy's "Fluffy Bun" ("Where's the beef?") and "Fashion Show." The spots were featured in a recent History Channel show, Whassup in Advertising.

The idea for The Romann Group's new PSA was so compelling to the New York agency, it made the ad without a client. The spot, espousing religious tolerance, quickly won appreciation—it was picked up by the U.N.-backed World Conference of Religions and Peace and is expected to start running in the U.S. and abroad later this month. Set in a park with a view of lower Manhattan, it features a man who dresses in different religious garb and ends with the voice over, "Whatever your beliefs, believe in humanity." The spot was directed by Ellen Kuras, director of photography for Blow and I Shot Andy War hol.

Marcello Serpa, partner and creative director of Almap BBDO in São Paulo, Brazil, will lead the TV and radio jury for the 2002 Clio competition, to be held in May. Steve Simpson, creative director and partner at Good by, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, will chair the print and poster jury. The international juries include two creatives from the U.S.: TV and radio judge Eric Silver, executive creative director at Cliff Freeman and Partners in New York, and print and poster judge Janet Lyons, evp and senior cd at BBDO New York.

Saatchi & Saatchi is searching for directors with less than two years' commercial experience and "relevant bravery" to feature in its New Directors Showcase at Cannes. North American nom inations go to David Perry, director of broadcast production at Saatchi & Saatchi, New York.