Making of : Recom / Schnabel / Evers

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We always try to squeeze in personal projects between one commission and the next. When doing them we love to collaborate, especially with photographers! So when Thorsten at Recom thought to build some stunning CG architecture with a CG car, he contacted photographer and mountain lover Michael Schnabel together with architect Fabian Evers. Excited by the idea, they began to look for a spectacular location in the mountains where it would be possible to virtually build the imaginary home of a car obsessed art collector. After viewing and scanning the mountainous landscape via satellite imagery, they travelled to the San Bernardino Pass in the Swiss Alps, located only a few hours away from our Stuttgart studio.

In the planning phase they first looked at a topographic model of a 20 square kilometer part of the pass to plan and start building up the architecture (see screenshot below). In the meantime architect Fabian started producing some elevation plans and drawings for the building.

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Topography of the San Bernardino pass.

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Elevation Plans made by architect Fabian Evers.

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Positioning the architecture in relation to the topography of the pass.

Thorsten, Michael, Fabian and few other members of the crew went to the San Bernardino Pass and spent 3 days there for the shoot. CG artist Johann also took with them the CAD data of the house-model and they started to scout for the precise place where it should be built. They even sent up an octocopter to capture aerial back plates and then when the locations were decided, Thorsten shot HDR Spheres to recreate identical lighting for the 3D model of the architecture and cars.

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Michael (on the left) with the crew location scouting.

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Michael with previs of the car and architecture.

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Sending up the octocopter for bird-eye views.

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Thorsten Jasper Weese shooting HDR spheres.

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Our well-travelled 3D calibration cube used to match the perspective of the 3D scene with the photographic back-plate.

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Discussing shots on location.

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Michael Schnabel and assistant during final shoot session.

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A selection of viewpoints made by our CG artists before deciding the final camera angle and composition.

 

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For the interior shots, all furniture and props were modelled by the CG Artists or brought in from the 3D database. Stylist Petra Langemeyer also helped our guys to choose some beautiful design objects. It all looks so real!

CREDITS:

Photographer: Michael Schnabel
CGI Director: Thorsten Jasper Weese
CGI Artist: Johann Oswald
Post Artists: Fabian Stehle, Jonas Braukmann. Jonas Disch, Thorsten Jasper Weese.
Virtual Architect: Fabian Evers
Octocoper-Support: Etienne Fuchs
Styling: Petra Langemeyer

Making of : NISSAN PULSAR

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Our first project working with the great Rick Guest was a complex one, promoting the release of the brand new Nissan Pulsar. With a brief containing a multitude of elements and inspirations ranging from a cloud of dust to an electromagnetic iris, we needed to create an event to symbolise the birth of the Pulsar.

As Rick only had a very small time window to shoot the car in Madrid, we did an angle-finding session in CGI with him beforehand. As a result the car angle was client-approved by the time he got to the studio, saving some precious time. He also shot lots of cloud elements in a different photographic studio in London.

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Once we had all the elements to work with, our retouchers started to assemble the background for the car, piecing together multiple images to create the explosion.

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The Iris component of the background needed to feel dynamic in order to integrate with the explosive elements shot by Rick. To achieve this our CGI team researched and tested different techniques ahead of the shoot to find the most suitable for the job. It made sense to treat this element not as a still life, but as the frame of a video.

The following clips show some of the many particle simulations used to create the Iris as well as additional atmospheric effects for the shot.

Below is how some of the final Iris elements looked before being composited into the shot

 

Aside from the iris and the light burst, the other CGI element was the reflection of the environment into the car. The camera and car already existed in the digital scene making it relatively straight forward to line up the reflections which were then composited onto the photographic car by the retouchers. See the reflection in the screenshot below:

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Hard work but really well done guys!

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CREDITS:

Client: Nissan
Agency: TBWA G1
Art Director: Carina Wachsmann
Creative Director: Nick Cooper
Photographer: Rick Guest
CGI Director: Kristian Turner
CGI Artist: Kristian Turner
Post Artist: Pepe Alram, Kate Brown

Making of : Ford Mustang by Uli Heckmann

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This is one of many images of the Ford Mustang we have produced, rendered and retouched in our New York and London studios, photography by Uli Heckmann (you can find more images here).

We get asked a lot about our workflow and how we work together with our clients to make sure they get the results they want. We work very closely with photographers, making sure they are happy with the image before any presentations. Every client is different of course and there is no one-size-fits-all solution, so having our artists understand what the client wants before starting is fundamental. For this we try to involve them as much as possible in the direct communication with the client from the beginning, especially on projects where a creative dialogue is essential.

Another key point is each of our studios having an internal creative director. Not only does this ensure consistency amongst all images in a series, especially when a job is handled by studios in different locations, but also helps maintaining a high quality standard. Before an image leaves our studio to go out to the agency, it needs to get the internal CD approval.

Our Artists also discuss their work amongst each other, making each image go through a number of internal revisions before a round is delivered. As a result the first round usually looks solid, which we believe is essential to great end-results, because it is very difficult for an art director or photographer to direct an image that is far from where it’s supposed to be.

Below is a gif animation showing the making of the image. Further below is a typical example of the three rounds system from the first stage where we position all the elements and develop the initial look, all the way to the final image.

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CREDITS

Client: Ford USA
Photographer: Uli Heckmann
Agency: Team Detroit
Creative Director: Ryan Breight, Brad Jendza
CGI Artists: Recom Farmhouse Team
Post Artists: Recom Farmhouse Team

Making of : Pleasure Grounds by Clemens Ascher

Look at these images and look again because what first appears to be a theme park is in reality a carefully constructed world balancing on the threshold of leisure and order.
Shot by photographer Clemens Ascher, the series Pleasure Grounds depicts scenes where people are shown in a moment of leisure but the space they inhabit is bleak and slightly threatening. Military weapons and wild domesticated animals populate this landscape and as viewers we are unsure what is real and what is ficticious. 

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We have collaborated with Clemens in the realization of this fine art project, playing with altering the proportions of objects and people, choosing slightly off-putting poses for the models and using extremely bleak lighting to take the scene to the limits of reality. Clemens wanted to create an artificial world, nearly two-dimensional, where missiles, animals and people would function like interchangeable figurines, marionettes playing on a theatrical stage.

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Whilst the background and animals were shot in different parts of the world from Austria and Switzerland to the US, the models were shot in a studio in East London. Aside from Clemens, part of the creative team on set was Christoph, our creative director, fashion stylist Alice Whiting, prop stylist Elena Riccabona, hair and make-up artist Brooke Neilson who all greatly contributed to the realization of the project with an exquisite selection of props, costumes and style.

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Here are some snaps taken by Christoph during the shoot.

Our CGI artists created the missiles in Maya and added some texture (such as rust, dust and scratches) in Mari for extra reality.

Below are some screenshots from Maya.

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And here are some screenshots from Mari.

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After shooting the individual elements, Clemens created the layouts for each image. Following his directions, we started to assemble all the pieces from background to architecture, to the armament and the people. Here’s a short gif animation of how it all came together.

 

See the whole project here

CREDITS:

Photography: Clemens Ascher
Fashion Stylist: Alice Whiting
Props Stylist: Elena Riccabona
Hair and Make-up: Brooke Neilson
CGI Director: Christoph Bolten
CGI Artists: Kristian Turner, Richard Jenkinson, Florian Einfalt
Post Artists: Pepe Alram, Kate Brown, Riikka Eiro

Making of : FORD KA

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Shot by the Wade Brothers this funny advertising campaign for the Ford Ka shows a woman who paints everything around her in pink, the colour of her new car.

The photographic duo contacted us because they needed a solution on how to change the colour of the house as they could neither paint it, nor shift the colours in post. In fact by doing this at the retouching stage the final result would have looked fake as all the diffused material on top of the brick work would have remained in place. As a solution we proposed to do a 3D-scan of the entire building to enable us to replace the painted parts of the house with a 3d model, and therefore adding the needed realism.

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Making of : INLINGUA

Commissioned by advertising agency Kolle Rebbe, this ad has been made by the Recom team in Stuttgart for InLingua, a language school that offers English courses for German speakers. While this ad will make sense to Germans, it won’t for almost everybody else, so a little explanation might be required: us Germans infamously pronounce the “th” as “z” – but in German the “z”-sound is pronounced with an “s” – hence the “s” is the letter being taken care of in these ads with the punchline “We take care of your th-problem”. Now while jokes are usually not that funny anymore if it takes 5 minutes to explain them, this is still and interesting example of how we composite together photographic and CG elements when making images.

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The making of: NISSAN QASHQAI

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Commissioned by advertising agency TBWA Paris, this is the first of a few images made for the launch campaign of the new Nissan Qashqai, which already has been awarded ‘WhatCar?’ car of the year 2014.
The Qashqai is a hugely popular model and this new generation was unveiled about a week before we delivered the visual. Working with such highly anticipated cars was destined to be a little nerve wrecking as the pressure is on, but ultimately a highly enjoyable experience. Our senior retoucher Kate Booker and CGI director Kristian Turner went to Paris twice to present and discuss the project.

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