LG has launched a television advertising campaign for the LG Infinia television, combining footage from the Thailand jungle and sea with photoreal CG animals. “Butterflies” shows us a single cocoon releasinig tens of thousands of CG butterflies. An elephant, with the help of CG magic, learns to climb a tree. Lure sees a CG fishing lure find its freedom whilst following a playmate in the deep blue sea. What if something amazing became infinitely amazing?
Click on the image below to play the three videos in YouTube (HD)
The LG campaign was developed at Y&R New York by agency producer Robert Beck.
FIlming was shot by director Dante Ariola via MJZ, Los Angeles, with producer Nathalie Richardson-Hill.
VFX and telecine were produced at Framestore by VFX CG supervisor Diarmid Harrison Murray, VFX 2D supervisor Alex Thomas and producer Sarah Hiddlestone.
Framestore provide their commentary on their side of the work….
In Butterflies, the main challenge was to create thousands of butterflies that looked real as a swarm, whilst retaining the intrinsic beauty that these fascinating insects possess, particularly during flight. The 3D team had to find the right balance between naturally chaotic flying and choreographed flying that could neatly tell the ad’s story of ‘infinite flow’. Caution was taken to ensure the butterflies didn’t become too stylised and bird-like, especially in the more crowded shots. The opening hero butterflies were hand animated for a smooth and organic feel, but the wider shots used a particle system to disperse the insects when they begin to number in the thousands. Range of colour and attention to detail were crucial, so the team created unique butterfly designs and added touches like rendering a fine layer of fur to avoid a plastic or solid look. Meanwhile, the 2D team painstakingly rotoscoped around the foliage so the butterflies could ‘fly’ behind some of the leaves. The 2D brief required a delicate hand to enhance the film’s magical lighting in Flame with subtle effects like lens flares and volumetric light.
Although Elephant’s eponymous animal seems to be climbing skillfully, it maintains an arduous sense of weight. Alex Thomas and Diarmid Harrison-Murray worked closely with Dante Ariola on set, shooting a variety of setups with real elephants, so that as often as possible, the real animal could be used, even if the background had to be rebuilt. At times the final shot is a combination of real elephant and CG. Considering the elephant’s climb was entirely unnatural, it was given amazingly authentic-looking movement through careful 3D animation and convincing 2D compositing. Given the intense schedule, raw CG renders of the elephant struggled in extreme close up, so tight shots were enhanced with 2½D projections of the real elephant. The 3D team also worked on augmenting the tree to make it appear more climbable and generated the tree trunk base to replace the elephant’s live action step. The jungle canopy needed to be closed in selectively in 2D and soaring CG parrots were added to draw attention to this sole opening. The final vista was built as a labour of love in Flame using location stills as a base. Flame was also used to create quiet but enriching visual effects like leaves that fall as the elephant strikes the tree.
Lure sees a fishing lure meets its doppelganger and so had the strongest narrative requirements. The animation challenge was in conveying a seemingly inanimate object being propelled by underwater currents, without it coming across as cute Pixar-esque character. Both the lure and the fish were designed in CG, with iridescent colour being a client priority. The underwater footage provided no tracking markers and few lighting references. Fortunately, though, a solid track wasn’t appropriate due to the fluid environment. In the absence of HDRs, fish and lure reflections were based on procedural HDRs generated by creating an artificial environment that emulated underwater colours and movements. The shoal required a delicate balance between natural movement and narrative choreography and the light that comes through it was built using shaders to create a sense of light travelling through the fishes’ bodies. CG elements were degraded in Flame to mimic the backplate’s natural imperfections. For example, a chromatic aberration effect – where the channel splits at the edge of frame in underwater footage – was applied as a blue blur to the edges of the fish and lure.