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JUNE 2011

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— M continued on page 47 Man Out Of T ent. cover story Building a better bug ONTREAL For SC Johnson’s newest Off product,Technicolor Creative Services Montreal was By RANDI ALTMAN tasked with creating not one, but three dis- tinct mosquitoes who prey on a couple camping in the woods. The agency, Draft FCB Chicago, once again called on TCS Montreal (www.techni-, which modeled, textured and animated the mosquitoes that had appeared in previous Off campaigns. But this wasn’t a slam dunk for the studio;TCS decided to push the envelope a bit in order to renew the contract. The result was some angry bugs with strong personalities who buzz around in the new Man Out Of Tent spot. VFX supervisor/creative director Andre Technicolor Creative Services Montreal creates a buzz for Off. Ü Montambeault was on set during the live- action shoot, which took place in Santiago, Chile. Below he explains the process. POST: How early did the agency get you involved? ANDRE Ü MONTAMBEAULT: “From the beginning of agency copy. It’s fun to be involved that early — we had the opportu- nity to develop the characters.This is a new Off product from SC Johnson, so it was not the same mosquitoes from the previous campaign.They wanted to renew the visual approach to those beasts. They wanted them be meaner and scary in a way. Because we were involved very soon,we had the op- portunity to make some look-and-feel tests that we presented to the agency creatives back in Chicago.A week or more before we even thought about shooting the commer- cial, we already had the look and feel of the mosquitoes in hand.” POST: How much research of mosquitoes did you do? MONTAMBEAULT: “The team here The TCS crew: (L-R) Audrée Veillette, André Ü Montambeault, Adam Goldstein. Second row: Benoit Drouin, Etienne Laroche, Francis Guinois-Leblanc. looked at references on the Web. It’s the best tool for finding textures and animation references.The main model we ended up with is a unique mosquito, because it’s a merger of many worldwide mosquitoes — so the wings are from one kind and the eyes are from another.The mosquito has an armored body; it’s not really a soft and hairy body like a usual mosquito.We had to make it meaner.” POST: Did you do previs? MONTAMBEAULT: “It was a Chicago agency with Dallas production house (Di- rectorz), a Santiago, Chile production house (Procine), and a Montreal post production house, so it really was a worldwide effort. 14 Post • June 2011 So we wanted to make sure that everyone had a real understanding of what we were about to do. “The use of an animatic and previs was very important, and it’s something we did early on in the process. Usually we send the client a turntable of models to show them how things will react to light, how they will tiago, Chile.The set up was a very cool plan- tation of 200-year-old sequoia trees that were all aligned from east to west. In the morning we were shooting with the sun ris- ing up. In the afternoon we had to move the set around from east to west, and we had the sun coming down; it was a perfect match for the lighting. Softimage and Nuke were the main tools used on look, and how they move.We went a little further — we actually did a full five-second animation of a mosquito flying around, com- ing up to the screen and flying back into po- sition, just to see how the legs, wings and the light would react on the bug. When Chicago-based editor Steve Morrison saw that animation test, he decided to cut it into his timeline.When it came back to us with the final edit it actually had a scene from the animatic test.” POST: What tools were used for previs and beyond? MONTAMBEAULT: “We used Au- todesk Softimage for previs, and the models and animation were also Softimage. Com- positing was on The Foundry’s Nuke.We also used Pixologic Z-Brush for modeling and tex- turing on top of what was done in Softimage. “By doing the previs in Softimage, we were already a step ahead of being ready to render the final scenes. After that is the texture and lighting and composition, but because we did the previs and look devel- opment on the actual model, we were al- ready good to go.” POST: You were on set, can you describe the shoot? MONTAMBEAULT: “It was shot in San- “The most we did for set design was the addition of light over the mosquitoes and the integration of the morning fog, haze and the depth of field that you can see in the ad. That was the extra work we did, along with the mosquitoes and the interac- tion with the light.” POST: How did you accomplish that? MONTAMBEAULT: “It was a good mix, from Softimage to Nuke with some live ele- ments — a 50-50 job.We had to render new light to integrate the mosquito accord- ingly to the shoot. It helped with me being on the set because we had the opportunity to take some high-res HDR pictures with our reflective ball. That helped a lot with catching the light directions and applying them into the software afterward.” POST: What other things did you accom- plish by being on set? MONTAMBEAULT: “Because we had the opportunity to be involved so early, the production houses shared a lot of informa- tion, like the type of camera they used and the lens kits, and by doing the animatic we had that in respect of the actual production. “That is an advantage of getting involved

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