Computer Graphics World

March / April 2015

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 14 of 35

m a r c h . a p r i l 2 0 1 5 c g w 1 3 IKEA's Ɖe Joy of Storage It's not unusual to give an- thropomorphic attributes to all manner of creatures. But, in the commercial "The Joy of Storage" for IKEA, visual effects artists at MPC Advertising were challenged with applying animal characteristics – specifically those of migratory birds – to T-shirts. The commercial follows a flock of shirts, which behave like a flock of Canadian geese, in their quest to find a new home. Their journey, while epic in scope, is far from easy. It starts out in the Arctic tundra, as the characters are seen high in the sky, over mountaintops barely touched by a dull sun. As they land on the snowy ground, viewers learn for the first time that these are shirts, not birds. The characters huddle together to stave off a cold, harsh wind, before taking off again. The landscape beneath them even- tually begins to show splotches of green, as the characters push onward, even through a down- pour. They rest momentarily by the sea and later in a field. They are chased by a child, then by a dog, and eventually find sanctu- ary in an IKEA wardrobe within a city apartment. "It's a visual spectacle as well as an emotional plight – you re- ally feel for the characters," says MPC's Diarmid Harrison-Murray, visual effects supervisor and CG lead on the project. On average, a team of eight CG artists and five compositors handled the work, completing more than 35 VFX shots in just three weeks. To sell the concept, the shirts had to feel realistic and the ani- mation had to be spot on. So the modelers and animators spent a good amount of time reviewing film of actual flocks and their shapes, slow-motion clips of birds in flight, and so forth. Nearly all the T-shirts and their subsequent movement are computer-generated, while the rest were puppeteered by Blink, such as one that is close to the camera in the rainstorm. Director Dougal Wilson liked the performance he was getting with the puppets on the ground during preproduction, so the MPC artists infused a puppe- teered feel into the way they moved their digital characters. "We got some rough video while they were developing the pup- pet rig – we could see where it was articulating, where the wing curve was – so we could have our [CG] rig behave in a similar way," Harrison-Murray says. The rig, Harrison-Murray notes, was difficult because it was deceptively simple. The animators had to control it in flight, where the characters appear to have arms and wings, and on the ground, where they step, and then blend between MPC ANIMATED THESE CG SHIRTS TO RESEMBLE A FLOCK OF BIRDS AS THEY TAKE OFF AND LAND.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Computer Graphics World - March / April 2015