Clemens Ascher’s latest series “IN THE GARDEN” depicts scenes from an indoor garden complex.
The world he represents appears to be entirely artificial, a plastic utopia carefully designed to deliver happiness and comfort to its inhabitants. The bright and saturated colours in these pictures are seemingly trying to compensate for the void in which these people live.
We have helped our friend Clemens in constructing this dystopian vision by adding some CG elements to his pictures. Together we discussed the set prior to his shoot and we came to the conclusion that models, plastic plants, carpets and placeholders for walls were going to be photographed, whilst windows, final walls and all other architectural elements would be created in CG.
CGI director Thorsten Jasper Weese and CGI artist Inez Budzyńska in the Stuttgart studio have had some fun playing with a CG hot air balloon. The balloon itself was originally created for another series of images but only featured in the distance. They loved the look of it so much they decided to re-purpose it as the hero in its own little story. They came up with the idea of making it appear in ordinary urban settings as if the shots were taken through a window. They wanted to create a dreamy effect where the ordinary and plausible would be combined with the uncommon and improbable. Read more
For the new Duckstein campaign, photographer Markus Mueller was asked to visualise two men drinking on top of a pint of beer with the foam spilling out and blending into a cloudscape. For this surreal scene Markus contacted CGI director Thorsten Jasper Weese at Recom because he needed to create most of the image in CG. Markus provided us with lots of backplates of real clouds shot during the numerous flights he had taken to photograph the other images for the campaign. We ended up using his shots for the clouds in the distance, and the ground visible through the gaps of the CG clouds. We then developed together with Markus the visuals for the foreground clouds in CGI.
The boxes above are called ‘Bounding Boxes’. They effectively define the boundaries of each of the clouds’s volumes that we have created in CGI.
The wire frame above explains better the geometry that our CG artist Richard Jenkinson has used for the making of the clouds.
He also created different passes to help our creative retoucher Jonas Braukmann in making the content of the pint look real.
The render of the white cloud pass is the light and shadow created by the sun. The red one has been used to mimic the sunset warm light. The last render is a ‘World Normals’ pass. The colours indicate the direction of each of the tiny parts of the fluid, which all together, make the cloud. This allowed our retoucher to fine-tune the light and shadow.
And this is how Jonas did it.
Photographer: Markus Mueller
CGI-Director: Thorsten Jasper Weese / Recom
Post-Artist: Jonas Braukmann / Recom CGI-Artist: Richard Jenkinson / Recom
This is yet another image we have created in collaboration with photographer Markus Wendler for the series “The Dark Side of Los Angeles” which visually narrates ambiguous stories in downtown LA. The vintage cars appearing in each image are completely created in CG.
For this one we used a classic Chevrolet Camaro. Markus photographed the backplate, whilst we shot the models against a green screen and we then comped them into our CG car.
Below is how we assembled all together.
It is a welcome change of subject for us to work on old and used cars as we need to add lots of extra details which are at the opposite end of the perfect glossy surfaces we are used to work on. So here for example we had to add condensation on the car windows, scratches, dust, rust, worn tyres and finger prints. All details which make a car look real!
Honda’s endless quest to communicate a never ending commitment to performance and quality has translated into this brilliant Droste effect advertising campaign. The Droste effect is an optical illusion whereby a picture appears repeated within itself in an endless way. Created both as a TV commercial and a print campaign, we worked with photographer Nick Meek to create a set of 3 images in which, every time, a smaller version of the image is repeated within a billboard forever showing the same.
Our CGI director Christoph Bolten worked from the earliest pitching stage with Nick and the team from McGarryBowen to help bringing it all together. He travelled to Spain with the crew to pre-visualise the car on set and to capture the lighting environment for all shots by shooting HDR spheres – see snapshots below.
Once back in London, our 3d-Artist Florian Einfalt created the billboards and power lines, making sure to add enough imperfections and signs of age to have them blend credibly with the landscape. Post-Artist Pepe Alram then created the final composition and look – and this is how he did it:
Above: a gif animation showing the optical illusion of the Droste effect.
Creative Director: Angus MacAdam
Art Director: Holly Fallow, Charlotte Watmough
Photographer: Nick Meek
CGI Director: Christoph Bolten at Recom Farmhouse
CGI Artists: Florian Einfalt, Kristian Turner at Recom Farmhouse
Post Artist: Pepe Alram at Recom Farmhouse
We have already posted the making of the Ford Explorer advertising print campaign in January. This time we would like to show you how we made the amazing 360 degree views of the car that our team in New York and Berlin have produced nearly entirely in CG. Yes, both the car and the pebble floor! The sky and surrounding nature were shot by photographer David Westphal.
One challenge faced by our team was the technical restriction given by the Ford web team. The animation could only be a max of 72 frames (and the current Ford website will only show 36 of them). This also explains why the final videos are not a very smooth animation.
But for our CG artist Richard Jenkinson the main challenges with this project were the size of the area of floor that needed to be rendered, and the level of detail required. The geometry of the pebbles had to be managed in an efficient way to achieve a realistic render-time. The camera gets very close to the floor at one point in the move, so the detail needed to be there, but not everywhere, as this would have been way too much geometry to render effectively.
In the end we decided to use displacement maps on a low-poly floor. Richard then used normal-mapping to add fine detail to the geometry. Below is how we did it.
Firstly, Richard studied reference photos from the actual shoot, specifically the scale of the pebbles, and how the tracks are formed in them.
The amount of polygons required to render in CG the whole floor were far too many to have on one plane. So Rich took 4 overlapping planes in Zbrush, to test whether the repeating texture was going to work as a displacement.
He then sculpted the tracks into the floor in Zbrush. Below is an early test image of the scene with a simple lighting set up made to check the scale of everything relative to the car. It was also used to see if there was enough detail at the lowest point of the camera’s move.
For this reason we scattered more pebbles geometry across the floor.
Below is the final pebble floor with reflection maps added, and the correct background and HDRI lighting situation ready to be rendered, and composited with the car which was made by our New York team.
Below are the final 360 degree views of the Ford Explorer in Ruby Red. The whole range was shown on the Ford website.
Agency: Team Detroit
Art Director: Andrew Smith
Photographer: David Westphal
CGI Artist: Richard Jenkinson and the NYC Team at Recom Farmhouse
Animation: Recom Farmhouse NYC Team
Post: Recom Farmhouse NYC Team
We recently worked on a portfolio project for Japanese born, Los Angeles based photographer Toshi Oku. We were very happy with the results of this unusual choice of colours and we thought to share! Well done Toshi!
For this site-specific project we were asked by creative director Felipe Nunes Franco to visualise a Renault car breaking through the glass facade of Düsseldorf airport.
Excited by the idea of producing an artwork for a site specific project, a member of our Stuttgart team drove to Düsseldorf for a day to take reference pictures of the actual facade together with the exact measurements of the glass panels. In fact we had to accurately reproduce those dimensions in CG so that the billboard could exactly substitute and replicate the covered area with the car breaking through it.
In our studio in London, our CGI director Kristian Turner started to work on the geometry of the architecture and the car. In order to make the glass shattering into pieces, he found it easier to actually simulate a car crashing against a glass panel. Pepe, our senior retoucher overlaid the cracked glass and flying shards into the final composition.
… and here is the final campaign!
Agency: Publicis Pixel Park
Creative Director: Felipe Nunes Franco
CGI Director: Kristian Turner at Recom Farmhouse
CGI Artist: Kristian Turner at Recom Farmhouse
Post Artist: Pepe Alram at Recom Farmhouse
When we work on automotive images, we are usually asked to render cars into a photographic environment, but with the new Porsche Cayman GT4 it was exactly the opposite: Thomas Strogalski photographed a real car while the location was virtually created by our talented artists in Stuttgart.
Strogalski beautifully shot the car for plenty of different angles and our team, captained by CGI director Thorsten Jasper Weese then designed and modelled the architecture of an underground parking lot to accommodate the cars. We also matched the photographic car to a CGI model in order to render the reflections of the surrounding location onto the shiny yellow varnish. Throughout the project it has been a very close collaboration between Thomas, art director Tim Buchmüller, creative director Norman Henke and us.
Below few more images of the Cayman GT4.
Agency: Kemper Kommmunikation GmbH
Art Director: Tim Buchmüller
Creative Director: Norman Henkel
Photography: Thomas Strogalski
CGI Director: Thorsten Jasper Weese
Post Artists: Nele Ebner, Thomas Fritz, Tobias Scheuerer at Recom
CGI Artist: Ina Bostelmann at Recom