Photographer: Nick Meek CGI Artists: Kristian Turner Post Artist: Maria Luisa Calosso

Tokyo Maserati Bora with Nick Meek

Our friend Nick Meek approached our London team with this evocative night shot from Tokyo.

Tokyo Night Garage - Nick Meek

He took it a while ago and always loved it, but kept feeling it needed something extra. He began to wonder what it would look like if the rolling gate was opened  – just enough to reveal something special.

Researching vintage cars, he found an unusual and elegant 1970s supercar with a plum paint and golden trim to the scene, and asked us if we could add it to the scene.

Excited about this extraordinary request we reached into our magic bag of CGI tricks, lifted the  door and settled on parking this sweet Maserati Bora inside the garage. See the process in the video here:

After a successful collaboration process, we’re all happy with the atmospheric result.

Photographer: Nick Meek CGI Artists: Kristian Turner Post Artist: Maria Luisa Calosso

 

Red Car, Red Room

We were so happy with how the Maserati turned out that we wanted to work with it some more. A CGI group challenge, themed on “Red Car, Red Room” was the perfect place to take the car out of the garage and reveal it in all its glory. Take a closer look at the exotic and gorgeous Maserati Bora in detail here.

Maserati Bora CGI

Crop detail of the gold trim:

Maserati Bora CGI (crop)

 

Software:
Autodesk Maya
Chaos Group V-Ray
Adobe Photoshop

Credits: Tokyo Garage
Photographer: Nick Meek
CGI Artist: Kristian Turner / Recom Farmhouse
Post Artist: Maria Luisa Calosso, Kate Brown / Recom Farmhouse

Credits: Red Car Red Room
CGI Artist: Kristian Turner / Recom Farmhouse
Post Artist: Pêpe Alram / Recom Farmhouse

100% – Porsche Panamera

We relished the challenge of creating this CGI Porsche Panamera in the rain for a campaign from Kemper Kommmunikation with photographer Erik Chmil.

Here’s a look into how we made it. There’s a selection of 100% crops to zoom in on the details, and a video where you can feast your eyes on the perfectly rendered raindrops on the CGI Porsche.

We used Autodesk VRED to make the car. This execution, with its intricate raindrops, was particularly interesting. The finished image (above) is packed with finely observed details.

As always, the CGI process is grounded in observations of reality. CGI artist Ivo Stanev spent time studying the interaction between the raindrops and the surface of the car. The water acts like hundreds of tiny lenses and we found the best way to light them was to use high resolution HDRI spheres.

crop4_lights

Due to their hemisphere shape, formed as the round drops hit a flat surface, the raindrops catch light from the many sources in a night scene like this- street lamps, headlights, windows and so on.  This is what makes them sparkle.

crop2_lights

Mapping techniques:
To do this, we used high-resolution rain textures with displacement mapping. However, because we wanted to be flexible it was important to react quickly to changes, so we used both triplanar and UV mapping (the process of projecting a 2D image to a 3D model’s surface for texture mapping )

Working with triplanar mapping gives us flexibility because we can easily change the form of the raindrops,  especially as the CGI modelled Porsche has High Density Geometry. A good example is the windshield, where UV mapping allowed is to model windscreen wipers with a specific movement. For the rest of the car we used triplanar mapping for flexibility.

It was important for us to show the effect of the wind, changing the shape of the raindrops as they move along the surface of the car’s body.

crop1_roof

Also some elements are not as simple to add as you might imagine! We wanted moving, blurred windscreen wipers of course…so we carefully painted where and how the raindrops moved, depending on the motion of the windscreen wipers.

crop1_screen

The rendering took a lot of time as well – we used full Global Illumination with a lot of samples…and of course only one HDRI sphere wasn’t enough, so we had to use two or three of them.

We are really pleased with the end result – the painstaking work paid off beautifully.

16-09_2015_porsche-aviator_mot33b_07a_korn

Fly though the details in our video here…

Client: Porsche
Agency: Kemper Kommmunikation
Photographer: Erik Chmil
Creative Director: Nadine Kubis
Post-Artist: Thomas Fritz / Recom Stuttgart
CGI Artist: Eugen Albrandt / Recom Stuttgart
CGI Artist: Ivo Stanev / Recom Stuttgart

Infiniti with Nick Meek – Behind the Scenes

Having recently established a new look for Infiniti, Nick Meek was asked once again by CP+B to apply his distinctive high key style to five more models of their fleet.

Infiniti QX70

We were delighted to work once again on the post-production throughout the shoot, both on location and in the studio. See the full series on our site here.

This was a shoot of epic proportions!

  • 3 months
  • 3 productions
  • 27 major exterior shots
  • 50 detail shots
  • 6 different models
  • Crew of 18

The Southern California locations included urban LA environments, desert highways, bridges, as well as an airport and a racetrack. With one of our retouchers constantly on set, we were able to jump start the post production. First pass amends could be in place before sending files to the agency, with feedback from Nick and the clients on set already incorporated.

The production convoy sets off to the desert:

The car travels in the finest style of course.

 

Gear and preparation:

Nick’s camera mounted to the end of the rig and ready to shoot.

So many measures to work against the fierce desert sun! This flexible arm keeps the camera in shade and and can also be used to block flare.

It’s a long walk back once the rig is set up – this is at its maximum extension.

The captures go directly to Kate’s workstation. We use walkie-talkies to keep in touch, so post-production can begin smoothly and directly from the image capture.

This exterior station is a convenient direct point for the client signing off elements such as the angle of the car. Left to right: CD Doug Kohnen of CP+B, Kara Hughes of Infiniti, Nick Meek.

Nick inspects some images in the workstation.

At other locations, a smaller portable sun shelter is useful.

Nick goes handheld and low angle for detail shots.

Setting up the ‘Lizard‘ to capture HDR spheres for reference, so we have a full record of the background in case of any later alterations – this means that if we need to change any details we have an accurate record for reflections and lighting on the car.

Capturing some city skyscrapers with the Lizard for use as backup for the city location, in case they were needed.


Life on the set

Tunnel vision can set in on these long shoots…

But the epic skies and open desert are stunning.

Hats are a necessity when working long hours in the blasting desert sunshine.

 

Clouds drift by as we wait for the perfect light

Even in the desert, the production team have to be vigilant – when the weather comes in, it happens fast! Approaching storms mean everything has to go under cover at very short notice.

 

Here it comes!

However the show must go on – no storm can stop Nick from continuing to work! Even in these conditions, he was able to capture great results. These were the shooting conditions:

…and this is the final result!

The precipitation did have some unexpected and spectacular side effects…

In between all the hard work during these long days on the road there were always moments of fun, where we got to play with an array of toys the crew had brought along (e-skateboards, mini motorcycle, remote controlled cars etc), and as we were being baked by the hot desert sun, we got to listen to some fine tunes by the motorhome band, while being spoiled by some amazing catered foods – Many thanks to Will Taylor of Ink and Oranges for their work on production!

Recom kept standards high with Kate coming first in her Go-Kart team.

The rig came in handy as a gigantic “selfie stick” to capture the crew, though no cable release was long enough to operate the camera!

Left to right:

Not shown:

All in all a very productive and delightful job. It was great to work once again with Nick Meek, the production was a big success and the same team is currently in the US working on the next Infiniti project.

Infiniti QX70

See the full series on our site here.

Mustang with Uli Heckmann

A quick peek on-set, and behind the scenes with the photographer –  shooting with Uli Heckmann, for the launch of the new Mustang 2018 with GTB (formerly Team Detroit) and JB5 Productions.

The car wasn’t yet available for shooting, so we took shots of  last year’s model as a stand-in to refer to, and then added this year’s car in CGI during post-production.

We always seem to be up ladders – shooting the models, and background separately. The stand-in car helps to get the lighting as realistic as possible.
img_6210

The final shot with all elements combined, including CGI car swapped in.

merchouse_01_comp05_and

Setting up the camera at the bridge – shooting HDR domes along the bridge with the Lizard to make a 360 light capture for the CGI car.

img_6292

Final shot using the lighting captures for perfect realism on the CGI car

barstowbridge_comp11_and

Stumptown brewery location. We shot all around this area, exploring different locations, areas and different talent options.

img_6310   

Final shot – This was put together from a number of different elements from the day’s shooting. 

stumptown_front3_4_comp07_and

J Konrad Schmidt: AV-Defekt

In this compelling and haunting self-portrait, J. Konrad Schmidt strips away all concealment of a medical condition he has had from childhood, and uses it to make a powerfuly revealing piece of art, inviting the viewer quite literally into his head.

Go behind the scenes with us for the background, technical details, process, creative stages, close-up crops, installation and artist statement of this extraordinary project.

Project background

J. Konrad Schmidt is widely acclaimed for his sensuous female portraits, and especially for his work with unusual analogue formats and materials, such as ambrotypes.

He approached us about a collaboration for an upcoming exhibition for the BFF – a well known network of high class photographers, based mainly in Germany. The exhibition’s theme was ‘Reduction’.

Using his concepts of beauty and analogue processes, he wanted to interpret this theme of ‘Reduction’ in a wholly unexpected and very personal direction, questioning these ideas of elegance and perfection by the use of his own facial structure in the work.

“The picture reduces me to my illness… created from parts of my x-rays, which were made in the deep sleep of anaesthesia.”

Since he was born, he has had a medical condition that haunted him, a vascular disease that affects his left ear and cheek, in which the blood vessels grow uncontrollably.

It has an effect on his public persona – in most portraits for interviews, or videos, you’ll notice he sits with his right ear to the camera.

This full face portrait was made specifically for this project.

J Konrad Schmidt portrait

Because of his disease, he has to go to the hospital at regular intervals. Since there’s only one hospital in Germany that performs these treatments, the place and the doctors have become a part of his life. He is always under full anaesthetic for the procedure, and the entire process is recorded with X-rays.

Using these X-rays, he wanted to rebuild his face for this project.

“I am contradictory to my disability. Now I am the error in the system. The devil’s civilian. Resilient, eloquent and radical with itself.

Before the fall of the Berlin wall, my worried mother took me from doctor to doctor in Eastern Germany. After the Unification, across the united republic. At the age of 10, I began an endless tour through cold operating rooms at the Klinikum Benjamin Franklin in Berlin-Steglitz.
This is why I am showing this work under this title now in this city.
Together with Recom Berlin, I used digital image manipulation for a truer purpose – to create a striking image, not to strike an image by manipulating it.”


The process

• Mood Boards

We collaborated together on moodboards to begin work on the overall feel of the piece.

Moodboards

•Technical details

Getting hold of the images was a tricky process. The X-rays were in a medical format, JiveX, embedded into a .exe file, burned on a CD.

It’s intended only for the use of doctors, so the controls are designed for their needs. Dragging the mouse up and down and right to left gives you basic contrast and brightness functions. Despite (or perhaps because of) this unadorned functionality, the output and interface has its own aesthetic interest.

Output 3c

The only exportable file format is a PDF. So that’s what we did. Each of those thirty-three PDFs had between four and forty-four pages.

So often, there’s something new to discover in every project : – )

“You can’t open more than 400 documents in Photoshop. I didn’t know that, and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen this message.” Jonas Braukmann, Recom Berlin

400 documents warning

This video shows all pages from all pdfs exported into PSDs via a script, giving us four hundred and four images to work with.

Cycling through all the exported files, this video shows clearly the progress of the injected X-ray viewing agent is injected, as it spreads into all the vessels that have grown out of control.


• Stages in creation of the image

We talked a lot on the phone, about the moodboards and what we had in mind, and this was the first draft, to see if the idea could work.
Version 1:

AV-Defekt version 1

We were both immediately very happy with the first draft, but wanted to try further explorations of the idea. We decided to enhance his characteristics…the hairline, strong eyebrows and his ear and cheek.

Version 2:

AV-Defekt version 2
We also tried a more dimensional version, incorporating more of the portrait.
Version 3:

AV-Defekt version 3
Konrad liked the initial draft best, and was thinking about what what should come next, showing it to friends and family. Meanwhile, we made  made a rawer version, by stripping away all the hair details.

Version 4:

AV-Defekt version 4

We ended up using the very first version – sometimes things just fall into place straight way.

The first version already told the story, and showed what we wanted to show.
Everything in this version is made from the X-rays, stratified and superimposed to create Konrad’s face, emerging from these medical records.  Only the light in his pupils is from a photograph.


Final image

AV-Defekt version 5 - final


Close-up crops.

We included some lines and technical artefacts from the original X-ray files, to preserve a reference to their origin – a contrast to the soft and convoluted organic forms with their precision and linearity.

AV-Defekt crop 1

The probing intrusion of the injection shows clearly, too – this is what enables the doctors to see inside Konrad’s head.

AV-Defekt crop 2

Detail of the pupil highlight, the only part which isn’t shaped from the X-rays

AV-Defekt crop 3

The video shows how the layers build up


Installation:

We scoured Ebay for a lightbox of the right size and appearance, to keep the reference to X-ray transparency display – a feeling of faintly institutional immediacy, as if you yourself were looking at them held up in a doctor’s surgery. The doctors who provided the material for the project found it fascinating to see.
The final presentation was at the Reduction exhibition in Berlin, part of European Month of Photography.

J Konrad Schmidt, Reduction Exhibition

J Konrad Schmidt, Reduction Exhibition

AV - Defekt Exhibition


Artist Statement

These, like all the quotes here, are extracts from a translation of the text which is  printed and displayed beside the transparency. The full text in German is available on J Konrad Schmidt’s site here.

“Reducing people to their disease – no matter what kind – is discrimination. …With me, people dare to say:

“I have to ask you something?”
“No, you do not! Because I know the question already! ”
– And then: Totally surprised faces …
If total strangers would simply say nothing, it would help a lot. Then I would not have to speak out here. So you beloved anonymous Philanthropists out there – this is for you”

Credits: Retouching: Jonas Braukmann, Recom Berlin
Photography and Art Direction: J Konrad Schmidt
Exhibition photographs: Matthias Krüger

Volume of Light - Undecided

Volume of Light by Thomas Brown

Volume of Light is an innovative and interactive project, created in the studio by our friend and regular collaborator Thomas Brown. Beginning as a small series, it extended in scope to become a four year mission.

In an intriguing new approach to the way art is marketed, an online campaign encouraged people to adopt one of 469 images. We adopted image № G_150204_0097 – Just been thinking.

Recom's image

As an adopter, you receive the book which is a directory of all the images. The book comes with a print of your adopted image, which is a limited edition of one, just for you. Each image is also shared on Instagram and Twitter with its newly bestowed name.

The project culminated with exhibitions in London and New York, and the recently published book.

It’s a beautiful object, with iridescent cover and rainbow foiled type – the video shows the lovely textures and colours.

Thomas explains:

“The assigned titles will forever be linked to the image.  Volume of Light wants to know what you see, how you see it and begin to understand why certain choices are made. It is an exploration and investigation of semiotics, the phenomenon of Pareidolia and authorship….Each image represents the record of an action, a passage of time and a movement of light…In their abstraction they represent no thing but leave space to become everything.”

 

“I can’t say VoL offers a new way of experiencing art…people are visually assessing the world every second of the day, but maybe for some people it causes them to think a little bit more about what they were looking at, or to reflect on their experience of looking. It certainly offered an interesting way to interact at the exhibitions.”

Volume of Light Exhibition

With all the images on display as small postcards the viewers were encouraged to take them from the wall to get a closer look and move through the space, breaking the conventional gallery environment.

You can adopt an image of your own at https://volumeoflight.com and see more of Thomas’ work at http://thomasbrown.info

Audi A5 and S5 Coupé

New work for Audi, a dark and dramatic concept with a technical look in a virtual world, to emphasise the high level of intelligence in the cars’ systems.

Working with photographer Markus Wendler, we built a futuristic architectural vision to set the cars in, underscored by abstract, rhythmic patterns of pixels, dissolving and coalescing.

Enjoy a trip behind the scenes in our video, from initial research, via glimpses into the technical elements to fly-throughs of the individual images. Or delve into further details below….

Once the concepts were decided, Markus Wendler travelled to China for the photography, centred around Zaha Hadid’s spectacular Opera House in Guangzhou…very poignant to be working so closely with her complex and beautiful shapes at the time of her death. Because of the organic forms of the building – inspired by the pebbles of its riverside location – it would have been very hard to figure out distances and shapes afterwards. So while Markus began shooting the backplates, his assistant Kolja Schoepe  was making invaluable PhotoScan captures, so our CGI artists could recreate the location digitally. He used the latest Canon EOS 5DS R for this and the results were very impressive – the best we have seen yet with PhotoScan.

Photoscan - Zaha Hadid

Meanwhile, as well as shooting the settings, Markus was working on the composition. This was quite a challenge as the angles for the cars had already been determined. With experience and care, he was able to successfully combine the wider angle backgrounds with the long lenses used for the cars.

Richard Jenkinson, CGI Artist at Recom Berlin, explains how we handled the creation of the geometry and distribution of the pixels in 3D:

cgi_tunnel

“After the point clouds were created using Photoscan, we imported them into Maya to make the initial models. Then we worked on grid patterns – enjoyable but surprisingly challenging to keep convincing.”

Proximity
“When we’d made the grid patterns to represent pixels, we made a build up for each area. This allows the retoucher to add or remove density where required. Then…rinse and repeat, eleven times.”

1. Initial pixel distribution for the ‘Tunnel’ image:
scene5_pixelonly_-12

2: Another pixel distribution, for the ‘Circle’ image:scene2_pixelonly_-127

Markus joined us again in the studio in Berlin, to fine tune the cars and perfect their lighting and placement within the sets.

Jonas Braukmann, CGI Director at Recom Berlin, filled in further detail on moving from the three-dimensional model to the two-dimensional finished product. As a big project with eleven images, this demanded maximised flexibility so we could work closely with the creatives at Kolle Rebbe on individual areas within each one.

“We needed control over pixel density in certain areas, to keep the illusion of natural flowing pixels, whilst keeping realistic vanishing points. The ‘rule of proximity’ was a big challenge – we needed different density levels and subdivided pixel layers in different levels of order and randomness.”

The catalogue, the first for the new Audi A5 coupé and S5 coupé design, is now in use throughout Germany.

Audi Catalogue

Final Images.
The elegant shape of the catalogue demanded super-wide panoramic versions to form extra long images for the double page spreads inside.

recom_wendler_kollerebbe_audi_4

Client: AUDI AG Agency: Kolle Rebbe Creative Director: Jörg Dittmann Art Director: Marcus Kubicke Photographer: Markus Wendler CGI Director: Jonas Braukmann CGI Artist: Eugen Albrandt, Richard Jenkinson Post Artist: Jonas Braukmann, Jonathan Clarke, June Lee Art Buyer: Kathrin Grün

recom_wendler_kollerebbe_audi_2

recom_wendler_kollerebbe_audi_5

recom_wendler_kollerebbe_audi_3

Credits:

Agency: Kolle Rebbe
Creative Director: Jörge Dittmann
Art Director: Markus Kubicke
Photographer:  Markus Wendler
Producer: Tim Michel
CGI Director: Jonas Braukmann / Recom Berlin
CGI artists: Eugen Albrant, Richard Jenkinson / Recom Stuttgart & Recom Berlin
Post Artists: Jonas Braukmann, Jonathan Clarke, June Lee / Recom Berlin
Art Buyer: Katrin Grün

Stuff we like: Weronika Gesicka

Polish artist Weronika Gesicka was delving into the concept of Engrams when she made this series of entrancingly surreal image manipulations from old stock photos…

Making of: Lamborghini Aventador with Marc Trautmann

Marc Trautmann came to us with an idea for a creative collaboration between CGI, photography, and architecture. The astonishing sculpted form of the Lamborghini Aventador would be set in deconstructed architectural elements, inspired by Daniel Libeskind, with both the car and the setting realised entirely in CGI.

“The concept of the personal CGI work was to create power and dynamics by dissolving conventional spatial structures.”

We loved the idea of creating an environment that would mesh perfectly with the extravagantly powerful style of the car, the challenge of making such an impossible setting look believable, and of course the collaboration between three creative disciplines.

1.Sketching out ideas

The first stage is to sketch out the initial concepts – no matter how technological the execution, there’s still nothing like breaking out the sharpies and sketchpads for free experimentation and collaboration in the early stages.

Initial sketches

 

2. Moodboard: structure, architecture, light.

When we are planning a deconstructed architectural enviroment, it’s vital to find reference for the elements so that they are completely convincing. We looked for abstract shattered planes and shards to inspire ideas, but also for reference of how light would move and react between the shapes. And we sought out architecture – both imagined and built – that was close to our vision, to see how it is structured in reality.

Moodboard_architecture and structure

3. Architectural session 

Marc worked with Franken Architekten to construct and then deconstruct a setting around the car. Originally created in architectural CAD, they were exported as .dwg files for us to work with in Maya.

1511_150407_MTR Aventador_Top 1511_150407_MTR Aventador

1511_150407_MTR Aventador_Perspective_01

4. Initial tests with the car

Once the initial concept is drafted, we began to refine the ideas in Maya. We experimented with different directions and angles and light sources within the architectural setting.

Aventador16_f78_30mm_03AT_AO-Occlusion

Aventador_03_KTT_f78 Aventador_03_KTT_f34

Once we were happy with the angles and the placement of the car, we crafted preliminary passes on lighting and mood.

_0005_Aventador_01_KTT_masterLayer_c4.exr

Aventador_09_KTT_masterLayer

5. Materials.

The next stage is to look in detail at the textures of concrete, steel and glass – once again, we make moodboards of real-world examples.

Moodboard 2 - Materials

For the detailed observations to make the renders perfectly convincing, we used material references from Marc Trautmann – the concrete floor of his studio had the perfect worn industrial texture we were after.

FullSizeRender

With the textures in place, we worked with Marc in developing the background further. Together, we sketched out where texture and lighting should be refined and perfected.

Untitled-2

Aventador_10_KTT_amendments

6. Last adjustments
We tested colour and mood  variants, fine-tuning the lighting and perfecting the dynamism and balance between the structures of the car and of the deconstructed setting. High resolution rendering in Vray shows how the details are coming together here.

Aventador16_12_KTT

Aventador16_13_KTT

7. The final artwork – three images of an extraordinary car in an extraordinary space.

Concept & Creative Director: Marc Trautmann Architecture: Franken Architelten CGI Artists: Kristian Turner, Anna Toropova / Recom Farmhouse Post Artists: Kate Brown, Riikka Eiro / Recom Farmhouse

Concept & Creative Director: Marc Trautmann Architecture: Franken Architelten CGI Artists: Kristian Turner, Anna Toropova / Recom Farmhouse Post Artists: Kate Brown, Riikka Eiro / Recom Farmhouse

Concept & Creative Director: Marc Trautmann Architecture: Franken Architelten CGI Artists: Kristian Turner, Anna Toropova / Recom Farmhouse Post Artists: Kate Brown, Riikka Eiro / Recom Farmhouse

Fly through the modelling and see how we built up the image, in our behind the scenes movie here!

See the full series on our site here

Concept & Creative Director: Marc Trautmann at Schierke
Architecture: Franken Architekten
CGI Artists: Kristian Turner, Anna Toropova / Recom Farmhouse
Post Artists: Kate Brown, Riikka Eiro / Recom Farmhouse

Cyan II by Øystein Sture Aspelund

Stuff we like: Bright geometry in modern architecture

It’s always amazing when someone shows us a new idea in architectural photography.

Norwegian photographer Øystein Sture Aspelund‘s vision of modernist architecture focuses in on details and textures of modern masterpieces, found by searching through Brasilia, Sao Paulo, rural Bulgaria, Valencia, Bratislava and the Italian coast. Infusing them with strong yet delicate tints of sunsets, cyan and rose, the sweeping and beautiful lines are reminiscent of a new colony on another world.

Your imagination can fill in the rest from these precisely observed details….

Cyan II by Øystein Sture Aspelund Cyan II by Øystein Sture Aspelund Cyan II by Øystein Sture Aspelund Cyan II by Øystein Sture Aspelund Cyan II by Øystein Sture Aspelund Cyan II by Øystein Sture Aspelund

Cyan II by Øystein Sture Aspelund Cyan II by Øystein Sture Aspelund Cyan II by Øystein Sture Aspelund

All photos © Øystein Sture Aspelund
More work  at http://oysteinaspelund.com
The full series is also available for your appreciation on Behance.