On Location – Ford Ranger CGI with John Roe

Client: Ford Agency: GTB Photographer: John Roe Creative Director: Todd Ruthven Art Director: David Nonthaweth Art Production: Kim Harris, Gerri Kozikowski Production: Roe Photo CGI Artist: Recom Farmhouse Team Post Artists: Recom Farmhouse Team

Sling your surfboard into the pickup and join us on location for our ten day shoot travelling across Oregon’s beaches, forests, deserts and mountains. We worked with John Roe and GTB on the launch campaign of the Ford Ranger, marking its return to the US market after seven years.

We had a Ford Ranger brought in from Australia with the same dimensions and wheel base as the new Ford Ranger, which we would later create in CGI for the final images. This helped greatly for lining up shots, and for the talent to interact with – especially for loading and unloading surfboards, bikes and so on. We had every kind of weather imaginable – sun, snow, rain and wind but thanks to the Lizard’s super fast capture, we were able to work quickly, even in the shortest windows of sunshine.


See how this shot was created in our “Making of” video here:

Next was a beach location. The photographer would first shoot the image with the stand-in truck.  Then we would move the truck out of view and shoot clean backplates.  In this way we could easily add the new CGI truck, and composite the talent back into the final image.



Final Image

Client: Ford Agency: GTB Photographer: John Roe Creative Director: Todd Ruthven Art Director: David Nonthaweth Art Production: Kim Harris, Gerri Kozikowski Production: Roe Photo CGI Artist: Recom Farmhouse Team Post Artists: Recom Farmhouse Team



On set in a contrasting location  – a very cold morning as we shoot the truck in the snow. With the truck driven away, Richard sets up the Lizard to capture a spectacular mountain backdrop.

Final Image:

Client: Ford Agency: GTB Photographer: John Roe Creative Director: Todd Ruthven Art Director: David Nonthaweth Art Production: Kim Harris, Gerri Kozikowski Production: Roe Photo CGI Artist: Recom Farmhouse Team Post Artists: Recom Farmhouse Team

While we were on the shoot, we talked about how it would be fun to put Bigfoot into one of the images, and we put him into a shot as a surprise for the client in the presentation. They loved it! So a couple of “Easter Eggs” made it into the final images and can be seen on the Ford site ..see if you can spot Bigfoot and Nessie! North American Product Communications Manager at Ford, Mike Levine, referenced them for people to find on his Twitter account here:



This was a fun shoot with a great bunch of people. We couldn’t resist setting up the Lizard for a 360 degree group shot. Introducing the Dream Team!

From left to right:
Jason Pachura – Location Manager
Brian Hug – Motorhome
Josh Nagy – Digital Technician
Richard Levene – CGI Supervisor
Phil Treece – DST (Car specialist)
John Kwiecien – Producer
John Roe – Photographer
Dianna Berggren – Production Coordinator
Nathan Garcia – Camera Assistant
Pete Thomas – Camera Assistant
Todd Ruthven – Creative Director
David Nonthaweth – Digital Art Director

See the whole series of fifteen images on our site here.


Client: Ford
Agency: GTB
Creative Director: Todd Ruthven
Digital Art Director: David Nonthaweth
Art Producer: Gerry Kozikowski, Kim Harris
Photographer: John Roe
CGI & Retouching: Recom Farmhouse NY & London Team
Production: Roe Photo

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.

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

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%.








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




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







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

Making of : Ford Mustang by Uli Heckmann


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.




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 : FORD KA


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.

Read more

The making of: FORD MONDEO

Ford Mondeo
Ford Mondeo

As it’s often impossible to show the amount of work and detailing that goes into an image, by posting the result on our website, I am starting a new section in the blog called 100%. Here we would like to post all those images which can be best appreciated in all their details when enlarged. I thought to post some close-ups of the Ford Mondeo campaign which we realised together with Damien de Blinkk for Ogilvy. This was a couple of years ago, but I am still very fond of looking at some of the qualities that only start to show when zooming in all the way. Read more