Tag Archives: Automotive

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

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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.

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

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

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

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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:

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“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:
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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.

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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

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Making of : FULL CGI LANDSCAPE for AUDI QUATTRO

This is the biggest out of home campaign Hamburg agency Kolle Rebbe has ever produced and it was also our most complex CGI production ever!

For Audi we created a full CGI winter landscape spiralling within itself: road, trees, rocks, snow, clouds and sky all curl around into a perspective that would have been impossible to photograph. In these scenes the cars, also created in CGI, are speeding on a snowy road next to ski runs with real competing athletes.

Audi_RFH-6Audi Quattro Winter Campaign
Audi Quattro Winter Campaign (detail)

With a total of 52 motives distributed in 180 ski areas in Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France, the teams in Berlin, Stuttgart and London joined forces to produce these mind twisting visuals under extreme time pressure. The heavy geometry of the landscapes required us to create a new pipeline to handle the different assets and be able to sculpt, texture and light the scenes in real time.

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Making of : Mercedes Sprinter

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Kai Tietz approached us with yet another awesome Mercedes-Benz Sprinter advertising campaign – and we were happy to be part of the usual Team. We worked together with photographer Martijn Oort to create a series of visuals for the new Sprinter Edition campaign. Martijn was responsible for the photography part and CG supervision. He photographed the backplate and all the people. We created the vehicles and other key elements of the images in CGI. Kai Tietz managed the whole project in the background. Continue reading

Making of : Honda CR-V – The Road to Great is Endless

Recom Farmhouse Honda CR-V The Road to Great is Endless

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.

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Making of : Ford Explorer 360 degree

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.  Continue reading

Renault site specific campaign for Düsseldorf Airport

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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.

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Making of : Porsche Cayman by Thomas Strogalski

Recom Farmhouse-4

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.

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