In a wildly imaginative video, conceptual design studio SUSPECT has delivered “The Showdown,” a two-minute spot for client PictCake, that ingeniously marries film noir sensibility with... a ping-pong shoot-out.


PictCake, a social media service, asked SUSPECT to produce the spot from concept to finish. The film introduces PictCake's new smart phone app that allows the user to take a picture, position it to scale, crop it over a template of a cake, choose the ideal composition, and upload it for delivery of a cake with the image in two days.

Quite the challenge, according to SUSPECT director Tim Crean, who wrote and directed the distinctive short film with the help of co-director Yuichi Uchida. “The PictCake team back in Japan really wanted something more than a straight-ahead video tutorial for the service,” said Crean.  “We needed to deliver something that was fun and a little bit crazy, something that would break through all of the clutter out there.”


The resulting film is a testament to Crean's unique storytelling abilities as well as the artistry of the SUSPECT vfx team.


Click here to view the work:


The piece focuses on two opposing figures, one man the indisputable king of New York City's underworld, the other a brash rebel hell-bent on claiming the throne for himself at any cost. The inevitable collision is solved the only way they know how:  a white knuckle, heart pounding, winner-take-all confrontation... over a ping-pong table. “The Showdown” is both an instant noir classic and unique piece of branded content with an unexpected twist.

“The whole gangster genre  is quite a rich, fertile storytelling bed and a great way to draw an audience into that world,” observed Crean. “We amped up the impending air of confrontation, building on a pretty menacing, pretty dangerous sort of vibe. Would they pull out guns any second and start shooting? No. In a climatic twist, our ping-pong champ, still slamming away, pulls out his phone, takes a selfie, and orders his cake.”


SUSPECT artists applied their deft touch to a multitude of tasks: crowd duplication; rig removal; retouching; set extension and, of course, meticulously animating and compositing the ping-pong ball in every shot.  Finally, an uncompromising, gritty color grade was artfully wed to the happy look and feel of the final plot twist.

Servicing the high-end advertising community since 2003,  SUSPECT was founded by two industry veterans Tim Crean and Rob Appelblatt. SUSPECT is a team of passionate designers, visual effects artists, and creative directors that provide dynamic design, visual effects and brand solutions.

Our clients range from Fortune 500 companies to rock bands, indie film directors to global agencies, broadcast networks to new media companies and everything in between. Think of us as creative partners. You have the beginnings of an idea (or not) and then we take it and run.  Leveraging the power of a high-end post facility with the sensibilities of a specialized design boutique our clients get the best of both worlds under one roof located in NYC’s Flatiron District. Info: