Making “Of Rainbows And Other Monuments” with Clemens Ascher

Photographer: Clemens Ascher CGI Artists: Kristian Turner, Anna Toropova Post Artists: Pepe Alram, Aljaz Bezjak Stylist: Alice Whiting Make-up: Amy Conley Hair: Brooke Neilson

Clemens Ascher dreamt up “this surrealistic and graphic world featuring mysterious monuments, the legendary Ferrari Rainbow and its furious drivers” – a minimalistic and metaphysical series in three subtly muted primary colours.

The ultra-distinctive stylings of Bertone cars are epitomised by the angular Ferrari Rainbow. This astonishing wedge-shaped concept car from 1976 never went into production and the prototype remains concealed in Bertone’s private collection.

Photos by Rainer Schlegelmilch and story on this largely forgotten legend here:
https://www.classicdriver.com/en/article/cars/classic-concepts-1976-ferrari-rainbow

Through CGI we set out to bring it into a uniquely imagined world. Clemens began by sketching  a deceptively simple series of shapes, exploring balance, colour and volume.

In the Recom Farmhouse London studio, we took Clemens’ initial sketches and began to work with them in CGI, turning the blocked volumes into architectural elements and experimenting with the placement of the car.

Gathering references for the concrete and asphalt. We spent time observing how the materials age, plants, water, sand and other natural forces work on the angular forms of buildings.

.Collaboratively, we created the monuments, making the abstract shapes work intriguingly but believably together. And we incorporated some pre-shot elements from Clemens – for instance, skies and figures.

Working closely at every stage with the photographer, we created the perfect setting and mood for this mysterious supercar. See how the yellow image was built up in this video:

View the rest of the series here

Photographer: Clemens Ascher
Stylist: Alice Whiting
Model: Jacopo Ugolini
Make-up Artist: Amy Conley
Hair Stylist: Brooke Neilson and Craig McAtear

CGI Artists: Kristian Turner, Anna Toporova / Recom Farmhouse
Retouching: Aljaz Bezyak, Pêpe Alram / Recom Farmhouse

On Location: Mercedes E-Class with Nadav Kander

Mercedes with Nadav Kander

The Mercedes E-Class with Nadav Kander for Antoni  – a fascinating project creating an extraordinary car campaign. Strong lines, clear colours and striking textures combine with abstract architecture, surreal volcanic landscapes and of course the sleek refined lines of the flagship convertible.

The concepts contained angular modern architectural elements, contrasting beautifully with rough organic texture of the volcanic rock. Initially the idea was to have a modular set built that could be moved around the platform. However, this had a number of logistical and timing difficulties and so our Berlin team offered to create the elements in CGI instead. We were able to work directly with the art director in the studio to experiment with the utmost flexibility. In this way, we could perfect the shape and angles to match the layouts perfectly before the shoot began, whilst adhering to Nadav Kander’s input of keeping everything as simple as possible.

Testing the layouts and trialling different options:

Scene overview in CGI

With the angles confirmed, the shoot began.

Fresh from his fascinating portrait of Donald Trump for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year cover, the Nadav Kander flew to Lanzarote to shoot backplates and HDR spheres.

Scouting for the perfect locations for HDR spheres in the volcanic island landscapes:

shooting an example HDR Sphere from Lanzarote

After Lanzarote, we took more backplates at this spectacular location on the Spanish coast. This was the view from the infinity pool – if you squint, you can just see Africa.

The crew assemble…

Only the topmost graduates of The Handsome Boy Modelling School can throw a towel off and jump in the pool with such verve and élan…

Perfect dive!

perfect dive

Our own modelling efforts are less professional.

Still, everyone looks better with a giant yellow head. You can just see the base of the cherrypicker beside the pool, to take the shot from a direct birds-eye view.

High up above in the cherrypicker

Up in the sky for the perfect angle

The Recom poolside cabana is fully equipped! Processing and checking everything will fit together perfectly.

As the car was top secret at the time,  it couldn’t be photographed on location, and was shot at a secret platform on a closed set with high security.  We lived for a few days in a gilded cage, not leaving the hotel with its three shooting platforms.

This was our work view for the week! We have to confess we much preferred the pool….

Super Secret Location

Once the car and backplates were safely captured, we began work on putting together the images. We set the car seamlessly in the volcanic landscapes, and refined the textures and shapes of the CGI architecture.

The results form a uniquely stylish car campaign – Check out the rest of this elegant series on our site

Credits:

Client: Mercedes
Agency: Antoni
Photographer: Nadav Kander
Creative Director: Tillmann Gossner
Art Director: Patricia Scheder
Art Buyer: Valerie Opitz
Production: Seaquist
Representation: Olivia Gideon Thompson at We Folk
CGI Artists: Sebastian Schierwater / Recom Berlin
Post Artists: Jonathan Clarke, Jonas Disch, Stephanie O’Connor, Jonas Braukmann / Recom Berlin

BMW i3S with Andreas Hempel – On Location

The i3S is the sportier brother of BMW’s electric compact car. For the launch, BMW wanted a strong real-life feeling – as if passers by had taken some snapshots. Shot over eight days in the streets of San Francisco, Andreas Hempel used natural light in urban situations, using a current model as a stand-in.

With the plan being to use as much natural light as possible, the preparation day started out rather worryingly…

BMW i3S - Recom Farmhouse On Set with Andreas Hempel

However the next morning was much improved and the team assembles for the first shot:

BMW i3S - Recom Farmhouse On Set with Andreas Hempel

Timelapse of setting up a shot:

 

Lunch break, San Francisco style

BMW i3S - Recom Farmhouse On Set with Andreas Hempel

As each first day’s shooting is complete, with on-set support from our Stuttgart team, we prepare to work our magic!

 

 

Work begins…

BMW i3S - Recom Farmhouse On Set with Andreas Hempel

Reference photos for wheel reflections.

BMW i3S - Recom Farmhouse On Set with Andreas Hempel

More high-speed work

 

Getting on the the low down for the perfect angle…

BMW_i3s - Recom with Andreas_Hempel - Behind the Scenes I

 

BMW_i3s - Recom with Andreas_Hempel - Behind the Scenes 3

A complex setup to capture a spontaneous moment…

BMW_i3s - Recom with Andreas_Hempel - Behind the Scenes 5

Setting up the shot, preparing for the moment when the light is at the perfect angle

BMW i3S - Recom Farmhouse On Set with Andreas Hempel

And – there it is! We swapped in almost the entire front plus a few other distinctive parts of the new model in CGI, and intensified the dark, shadowy look. See the full series on our site here

Client: BMW
Agency: Serviceplan
Photographer: Andreas Hempel
Creative Directors: Jan Grothklags, Falk Pegelow, Mark Räke
Art Director: Christine Behrendt
CGI Artist: Andreas A. Maurer / Recom Farmhouse
Post Artists: Jonas Disch, Laura Kißner / Recom Farmhouse

Hublot with Sandro Baebler

Swiss luxury watch brand Hublot assigned Sandro Baebler to shoot a portrait of one of their ambassadors, Chinese superstar pianist Lang Lang.

Sandro’s portrait session had unforgettable musical accompaniment, which can also be seen on his Facebook page here.

After his work with the musician in a studio the photographer asked us to add a specific Manhattan skyline view as a background.

Sandro suggested the perfect place – a rooftop bar with spectacular views. Our New York team organised the permit and set out to shoot the night time scene. As the location did not allow the use of tripods we had to shoot at a high ISO setting, but by stitching together many exposures we were able to make a handheld ultra high resolution panorama.

The initial stitched panorama:

Hublot Lang Lang source panorama

Our studio in London created the piano, room elements and flooring in CGI and merged them skilfully and seamlessly with the panorama and the portrait to create an atmospheric night-time cityscape.

See how the image was built up in the Making-Of video here:

 

The final campaign image with added product photography, as used on billboards and in magazines worldwide.

Hublot Lang Lang advert

See the final result on our site here.

Credits:
Client: Hublot
Photographer: Sandro Baebler

CGI Artist: Adam Jones / Recom Farmhouse
Post Artist: Maria Luisa Calosso / Recom Farmhouse

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.

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

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.

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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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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

 

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

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

100% : Virgin Broadband

Cable specifications! Some might say it’s strictly of interest to your more hardcore nerd, which of course we are. But this is what brings everyone the high speed internet we all love. So we thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of creating Virgin’s DOCSIS®3 Tech cable for a multi-platform campaign – both still and moving assets for print and video adverts.

One of the main challenges was creating a photo-realistic cable. This sounds a lot easier than it is, because when you look at a seemingly smooth metallic material in extreme close-up, it is never perfect. The minute imperfections are actually what gives metal its particular character. In previous campaigns, the cables were photographed – setting the bar high.

We developed custom shading networks including microscratch details giving them the imperfections of the real materials.

Virgin_materials

The braiding of the cable housing is perfect, right down to the compression of the snipped ends in the wires.

cgi_by_recomfarmhouse_for_Virgin_2_braid

A myriad of tiny details were included, such as the champfering of the cable housing shown here.

cgi_by_recomfarmhouse_for_Virgin_3_cable

Every bend and kink of the copper wiring was faithfully replicated

cgi_by_recomfarmhouse_for_Virgin_1_copper

For flexibility in animation we developed a rig with which we could quickly adjust both the shapes and the timing of the cable’s growth.

Virgin_roll_animation_625

We made three executions of the idea – Home, Gaming and Video versions.

CGI by Recom Farmhouse for Virgin Broadband - Cable
CGI by Recom Farmhouse for Virgin Broadband - Cable
CGI by Recom Farmhouse for Virgin Broadband - Cable

 

The ads were shown all over the UK in an enormous variety of formats, all working well due to the extremely detailed CGI.

virgin_insitu

Credits:
Made in Maya
Rendered with V-Ray
Animation composited in After Effects
Stills retouching in Photoshop
All by Recom Farmhouse London

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