Making of : Ford Explorer

Shot by photographer David Westphal, this production of images is another fine example of how realistic CG images can look! Our New York team traveled with David to the amazing forests, parks and beaches near Portland, Oregon. Our team provided both on-set retouching and pre-visualisation to allow everyone to see the car in situ and decide on the angles.

We are so pleased with the outcome of this series of images that we would like to show both the making of, as well as some details of the images zoomed in at 100%.

MAKING OF: FORD EXPLORER

UNRETOUCHED BACKPLATE vs FINAL IMAGE:

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UNRETOUCHED BACKPLATE vs FINAL IMAGE:

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UNRETOUCHED BACKPLATE vs FINAL IMAGE:

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IMAGE ZOOMED IN AT 100% (click on the image to enlarge)

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IMAGE ZOOMED IN AT 100%

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IMAGE ZOOMED IN AT 100% (click on the image to enlarge)

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CREDITS:

Agency: Team Detroit
Art Director: Andrew Smith
Photographer: David Westphal
CGI/POST: Recom Farmhouse NYC Team

Making of : Tears

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One day we were called by Damien De Blinkk called us with a rather unusual request: can you make a girl cry? While being a questionable task in the real world, in the virtual world this turned out to be a fun little project! See the making-of below, using ZBrush to model the tear, Maya/Vray for lighting & rendering and bringing it all together and adding those bloodshot eyes in Photoshop finished it off.

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Screenshot of the tear in zBrush.

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Screenshot of the tear in Maya.

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Making of: from the 3D model of the tear to the final image retouched in Photoshop.

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Close-up of the final image. Click to enlarge.

The concept for the campaign has since changed, but we were very happy with our result as it turned out to be a fun little project! Click on the image above and see by yourself!

CREDITS:

Photography: BLINKK
Making of tear: Recom Farmhouse
CGI artist: Richard Jenkinson
CGI director: Christoph Bolten
Retouching of tear: Christoph Bolten

Making of : VW ALLTRACK

A few months ago two members of our team, Kate and Dave, flew to Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy to work on the new VW Golf Alltrack brochure and advertising campaign shot by photographer Marc Trautmann. They were on set to speed-up the post-production process providing both on-set retouching and pre-visualisation.

Marc Trautmann at work in Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy.

Whilst Marc was shooting the landscapes, Dave was doing the on set pre-visualisation of the car to allow everyone to see it in situ and decide on the angles. In the meantime Kate was working closely with art director Camille Lafourcade on low resolution comps of the images as the backgrounds were made of multiple photographic elements. We also shot HDR spheres on location in order to recreate identical lighting for the CGI car.

By the time the shoot was finished, our London studio had already received low resolution composites of the backgrounds and final pre-vis of each car angle. The next stages were to light and render and composite the cars, fine tune the images in high resolution and to create a colour mood. For the final tweaks our team were joined by the photographer, the client and the agency in London to sign off the images.

Above: Making-of of VW Golf All Track

CREDITS:

Client: Volkswagen
Agency: DDB Berlin
Art Director: Camille Lafourcade, Christoph Stender
Photographer: Marc Trautmann
CGI Director: Kristian Turner
CGI Artist: Kristian Turner
Post Artist: Kate Brown, Riikka Eiro, Andrea Tosello

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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Pleasure Grounds

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

News : Zwischenwelten by Ralph Mecke

Check out this crazy beautiful editorial, shot by Ralph Mecke on large format colour negative. It is inspired by the world of Francis Bacon and takes you to some dark and beautiful places inside the human soul. Our team in Stuttgart scanned the images, making sure to keep the analogue feeling of the negative whilst showing a peculiar palette of colours for this eccentric world of unusual beings.

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CREDITS:

Client: Best Fashion
Photography: Ralph Mecke
Post Artis: Thomas Saalfrank
Production: Yilmaz Aktepe