Post Magazine

October 2014

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Page 17 of 51 16 POST OCTOBER 2014 ondon-based MPC, a creative stu- dio specializing in VFX, recently worked with ad agency Mother on con- ceptualizing and developing a 15-foot-tall mammal for a Money Supermarkets spot, and also with W+K London to help give life to a singing feline for Three Mobile. As a continuation of Money Supermar- kets' "Save Money, Feel Epic" campaign, MPC's 3D team, headed up by VFX pro- ducer Lisa Vaughn, VFX supervisor Mat- thew Jackson, and 3D supervisor Fabian Frank, worked with Kyle Harman-Turner and Martin Rose, creative directors at Mother, and Smuggler director Guy Shelmerdine, for the spot. According to Harman-Turner and Rose, "Our ambition was simple: to make the most epic Money Supermarket fi lm yet. To achieve that, we took the badass swagger of Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, the strut of John Travolta in Sat- urday Night Fever, a sprinkle of Michael Jackson in Billie Jean, served with the Single Ladies attitude of Beyoncé — and channeled them all into a 15-foot African Bull Elephant and a slightly fat bloke from Coventry." MPC began to conceptualize the ele- phant two weeks prior to the scheduled shoot. A previs laying out his size and basic fl ow of movement was then used as a guide for the rig on-set. Following the shoot, the team decided on the look of the elephant and his subsequent texture, settling on the male African elephant. To help anthropomor- phise him, the team started with famous characters in mind, such as Jackson, then eff ectively taught the elephant how to dance. As part of this creative process, the intricacies of elephant mobility and human dance moves were studied. "The biggest challenge for us was cre- ating an elephant that could pull out the moves, yet was also believable and true to life," explains Frank. The second challenge for the team came with integrating the elephant into the shot footage. Matching the interac- tion between Graeme, the actor riding the elephant, and the elephant itself were key. To pull this off , Graeme was tracked and rotoscoped back into the shots, using select takes to perfectly match the elephant's walk cycle. Through a mix of tools, including Nuke, Flame, Maya, Ar- nold, Photoshop and Flame, the elephant was successfully created. For Three Mobile's "Silly Stuff . It Mat- ters." campaign (conceived by W+K Lon- don and directed by Traktor), MPC creat- ed a rock & roll kitty, riding in the bicycle basket of his owner, and singing along to Starship's iconic 80s anthem, "We Built This City." To pull it off , MPC's VFX team, headed by VFX producer Chris Allen and VFX supervisor Bill McNamara, devel- oped and animated a digital double of Bronte the cat, complete with skeleton, muscle structure, fur and very special musical talent. According to Traktor, "The commer- cial was a chamber-piece that had some epic challenges in the shape of a pint- sized fan of Starship. We built this Kitty, indeed. Our hope was that it was going to look eff ortless despite the obvious ef- forts that must, somehow, have gone into it. Realism was not really our main aim, as the moment it sings, that is a moot point. We wanted emotion, and MPC provided that in droves." A real cat, Bronte, was cast from a litter of rare, fl at-faced kittens, selected based on his coloring and relaxed personality. The fi rst step for the 3D team was to develop a detailed model of Bronte using 3D software. A rig was then put in place, setting up the bone structure and muscle systems. The team studied the Hairless Sphynx breed's joints, as their shoulder blades and wrists can be more easily seen. Animators used references of cats yawning and snarling to develop the right singing movements. During the shoot, the VFX team cap- tured lighting conditions and measure- ments to be replicated later in the studio. A 3D model of the entire environment was re-created, to ensure all the condi- tions of the shoot were replicated before Bronte was composited into the shots. MPC used its propriety Furtility to develop Bronte's fur, and a mix of Maya, Nuke, Renderman, Zbrush, and Flame. MPC'S ANIMALS STAR IN EUROPEAN COMMERCIALS A MIX OF TOOLS BROUGHT T0 LIFE A SINGING FELINE AND DANCING ELEPHANT L Three Mobile's feline, hitting some high notes. Money Supermarkets' "Save Money, Feel Epic" campaign. INTERNATIONAL VFX

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