Some design houses are known for having a distinctive style, but Loica isn’t one of them. In fact, one of the things that attracts a growing number of primarily U.S. clients to the Santiago, Chile-based studio is their reputation for having a broad range of design styles. Compare, for example, two projects they worked on recently using MAXON’s CINEMA 4D—one for Turner Classic Movies and the other for Volkswagen.
TCM has worked with Loica in the past. This time the network asked them to create a graphics package, including the show open for “Essentials, Jr.” Hosted by SNL’s Bill Hader, the weekly series features films geared toward families with young children. “They wanted something lighter, fresh and more fun than the open for the evening shows for adults, and they wanted to hear our ideas,” recalls Matias Rivera, Loica’s creative director. (See Loica’s reel: http://www.loica.tv/2011/RW/reel.php.)
What’s real and what’s 3D?Because kids aren’t drawn to the black-and-white look of old movies, TCM asked Loica to think about creating something colorful that had a handmade look. That request got Rivera thinking about the work of Luis Valdes (a.k.a. Don Lucho), a Chilean artist who specializes in cardboard and cut paper art. Curious about how people reacted Don Lucho’s work, Rivera and his team went to see two of his installations. (Watch the opener: http://loica.tv/2011/RW/w_tcm_essentials.php.)
“At one place he had a life-size airplane made out of cardboard that looked like it had crashed into a garden, and at a farmer’s market he’d made veggies and fruits out of paper,” says Rivera, who could see immediately that people like Lucho’s work. So they contacted him to see if he could make a nearly six-foot-tall cardboard building for the opener.
Lucho agreed and the opener was shot to make it look as if action happens on each floor on tiny stages. CG characters and elements created in CINEMA 4D represent different film genres and micro-LED lighting on each stage was done by Antonio Quercia, director of photography.“We wanted all of the CG to have the same cardboard quality of the building,” says Loica’s technical supervisor Francisco Chaigneau. “They [TCM] asked if we could really do the environments in cardboard and make it on time and we told them yes because we like a challenge,” he continues. In the end, the design process took longer than production with cardboard construction alone taking 10 days.
Loica’s animation director, Leonardo Alisievicz, credits C4D’s animation layers with helping streamline the character animation process. “It was great that it was so easy to animate one thing, and then something else, and mix it up using layers,” he explains. On the romance genre stage, for example, a couple in love is seen dancing together amidst paper hearts. “Everything in that scene is real except for the couple, which we made with CINEMA, and that glinty confetti in the background was done in After Effects.”
Dracula is the star on the horror movie stage. Alisievicz used CINEMA 4D’s Dynamics filter to break up the ground into realistic-looking cardboard pieces as bats seemingly erupt from the underworld below. Footage for the open was tracked in PFTrack.
Volkswagen ChileLa Mesa, a local agency, invited Loica to work on a 20-second remake of a European Volkswagen spot that featured the carmaker’s latest models. The goal was to remake the look and feel of the old spot to give it a new, modern spin. While this didn’t present a big creative challenge, it was the first Volkswagen ad to air in Chile, so Loica came up with their own interesting take on the previous commercial by adding footage of a live hand to the otherwise all-CG spot. (Watch it now: http://loica.tv/2011/RW/w_volkswagen.php.)
Like most cars sold internationally, model details vary slightly from country to country. One of the first things Loica did was to make changes to the 3D models of each car they bought online. “We had to rebuild all the wheels, especially the tires, which weren’t right,” says Alisievicz. At Volkswagen’s request, they also changed the name of the Jetta to Vento because Jetta means bad luck in Chile.
To simulate realistic movements of the cars as they take sharp curves or get picked up by the giant hand, Loica used the Drive! plug-in for C4D (http://www.c4dplugin.com/indexx.php). Footage of the hand was shot using props that approximated the CG cars, which were added in post-production.
In addition to trying Drive!, Loica’s creative team also learned to use V-Ray while making the spot. “There was a learning curve, but it worked well and we got good render times and the photo-realistic look we wanted,” Alisievicz explains. “We’ll definitely use V-Ray with CINEMA in the future.”
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October 17, 2011
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