Post Magazine

January 2012

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 5 of 51

Bits & Pieces Digital Domain creates Transformers teaser V ENICE, CA — Activision Publishing and High Moon Studios tapped Digital Domain (www. and sister company Moth- ership director Neil Huxley to create the unexpected teaser for Transformers: Fall Of Cybertron, which pre- miered during the 2011 Video Game Awards show on Spike TV. The :90 piece has a dark filmic look designed to hook gamers. transform into the towering Bruticus. "We took a lot of cinematic cues from the Trans- formers and Terminator movies — eyes lighting out of the dark, lots of atmospherics and smoke, using fires on the battlefield to illuminate characters versus big light," explains Huxley. "Camera and lighting were so important in a CG piece of this scope to provide a sense of scale. These guys are massive robots. We were mindful of depth of field and used a lot of wide angle lenses where appropriate." Making the robots emote was challenging, as none of the characters had facial rigging for animation. "It becomes about theatrics and perfor- mance; selling emotion through visu- als, with the music heightening it and creating mood," Huxley explains. Production began with extensive previsualization that included lighting cues, giving Activision a clear idea of how the piece would actually look in the end. Then, working in Digital Domain's virtual production studio, Huxley took previs elements and a virtual camera onto the stage and directed the movement of CG sets and motion captured actors in real- time — shooting the CG story as if he were shooting live action. Digital Domain artists finished the spot with final animation, lighting and composit- ing. A team of 15 took the piece from start to finish in eight weeks. Rich Flier, Digital Domain execu- The VFX studio provided animation, lighting and compositing. "We wanted to make a piece that looked like we went to Cybertron and shot it with real hand-held cameras," notes Dave Cravens, cinematics director for High Moon Studios. "This is an emotional story and it has to feel like the viewer is right there. Digital Domain's virtual production process was like shooting live action, and Neil's creative approach allowed us to take this piece out of the traditional action mode to a higher, more artistic plane. You really feel for the char- acters and their situation." Featuring characters from Hasbro's iconic Trans- formers brand, the piece opens with Optimus Prime carrying his longtime comrade Bumblebee out of battle, whose critical injury is the catalyst for the Auto- bots' redemption. Puscifer's "Humbling River" is a som- ber backdrop as the mood shifts to despair with the arrival of Megatron and the Combaticons, which 4 Post • January 2012 tive producer, gaming, notes, "People are used to a certain type of trailer for a game like this. Activision wanted to take it to a different place — to give gamers something unex- pected; more of a backstory that would set a com- pletely different tone. In this piece you get more of the characters' motivation and you really feel for them and their situation. There's a little bit of hope, some redemption." "We were able to take our experience working on the Transformers movies to create a look for this piece that was consistent with the franchise but delivers the unique 'Cybertronian' aesthetic of this standalone game series," says Ed Ulbrich, CCO of Digital Domain and president of Mothership. "And having virtual pro- duction in house meant that we could shoot these massive CG characters like live action, bringing more feeling and emotion to the piece and ultimately helping to elevate the game." Township takes its vitamins for Jamieson T ORONTO — Township & Company (www., based here, recently worked with agency Quizative on a spot for Jamieson Vitamins. The piece features a mix of CG animation, stock footage and matte paint- ings. Township, which directed the piece, designed and crafted a number of beautiful locations that set the scene for the narrative. "We started by designing storyboards and creating style frames in Photoshop to help set the look and feel of the spot," explains VFX director Andres Kirejew. "After client approval, the storyboards were used to create an ani- matic in After Effects for timing purposes. While that took place, we started building all the matte paintings in Photoshop. Once everyone was happy with the flow of the animation they blocked out the all the shots in 3DS Max. "The Nuke'em script was used to get the 3DS Max camera data and FBX info into Nuke, whose toolset allowed us to be fast and flexible," says Kirejew. "At that point we re-linked all the elements in Nuke and did the final comp. After Effects was used to do final grade and we added some extra animation elements by using the live link between After Effects and 3DS Max 2012. This allowed us to use the same camera throughout the whole process." The final client- attended session was finished using Flame. The Township team included creative director Ron Gervais, animation director David Greene and VFX director Andres Kirejew. The production com- pany and finishing house was Axyz. Axyz's team included producer Karen Huybers and assistant Davey Birrell. Audio post was via Vapor Music. WHAT POST READERS ARE LISTENING TO right MUSIC: "I am currently listening to 'Watch the Throne,' A Jay-Z/Kanye West joint. Loving the tracks Otis & Gotta Have It." Sam Johnson, now Production/Post Engineer for the LAB, London.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - January 2012