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A52 Gives Infiniti M Campaign Extraordinary CGI Art Look

Emmy Award-winning Los Angeles visual effects and design company A52 today detailed their design, animation and visual effects work for the new Infiniti M campaign from TBWA\Chiat\Day in Los Angeles.  Two campaign broadcast spots, ?Dusk and ?All Wheel Drive, recently debuted, featuring extraordinary environments created completely in CGI, as well as CGI light flourishes which are widely being used in the agencys print and outdoor elements of the nationwide campaign.

Throughout the campaign, the new M45s curves and contours are drawn in the air with lights to highlight the cars artistic design.  In ?Dusk, after lights trace-out circles from a black background, the M45 is then revealed driving through the desert.  Another angle on the car is introduced by lines tracing it from the side, before the driving vehicle itself appears in the picture.

Much to the surprise of most who see ?Dusk, the car and some photographic light strokes filmed by project director Daniel Barber are its only live-action elements.  ?The distant mountains and sky are a big photographic panorama, and everything in the foreground and middle ground is just nature created from math, explained A52s project CG supervisor Denis Gauthier.  Together with his fellow A52 artists Westley Sarokin, Craig ?X-Ray Halperin and Josh Kolden, Gauthier employed Houdini to create and render the 360-degree desert environment that included some six million branches of sagebrush, the highway, gravel, puddles, fences, signposts and more.

Through LA-based production company Rockfight, Barber meticulously photographed the M45 on a conveyor belt in front of a blue screen, using a motion control rig to capture sweeping camera moves of the car with its wheels turning, and using an experimental, open-shutter technique to create scintillating lines of light that float above the cars surface. A52s team tracked the vehicle in the live-action passes, then created a CGI version of the vehicle in matching scenes where theyd rendered-in the moving desert background, complete with lighting and appropriate shadows.  The team reflected all the CGI lighting and scenery in the CGI model of the M45.  In the finished composition, A52s Pat Murphy used Autodesks Inferno to seamlessly layer together the live-action photography and the photographic light strokes Barber created with the CGI background and the digitized car.

?For ?Dusk alone, there was just tons of data, Gauthier added, ?but our in-house setup made it surprisingly easy to handle and to render what we needed.

?All Wheel Drive is another extreme A52 case study on the creation of photoreal CGI environments this time, one covered in snow.  Here, Gauthier and his colleagues dressed a 360- degree view of the world in three inches of freshly fallen CGI snow, and also added falling and blowing snow.  For this spot, Barbers team added a bit of spray frost to the M45 in the studio before shooting their live-action motion control footage.  From there, A52s team put the car in the snowy CGI environment and used a combination of CGI and 2D enhancement to leave tire treads behind the car and create the illusion of it throwing snow into the air.  Once again, a CGI M45 was created inside the CGI environment to create appropriate lighting and reflections, and Pat Murphy superimposed that element over the live-action footage in Inferno.

A52s team was especially enthused to see their CGI light flourishes being put to such prominent use across the cross- platform campaign.  The outdoor ad features their CGI light outlines tracing the side view of the M45 which the team output at a resolution of 7000x9000 pixels.  ?This is the first time Ive ever seen a campaign that uses all the CGI from the same source, where it looks exactly the same from the TV spot to the billboards to the cover of the brochure, Gauthier said. ?Seeing it done so seamlessly is very impressive.

TBWA\Chiat\Days project credits include global creative director Rob Schwartz, creative director Tor Myhren, art director Scott Brown and producers Richard ONeill and Mai Huynh.  Production was overseen by Rockfights executive producer Ned Brown and line producer Matthew Brown.  Steve Chivers served as director of photography.  The editorial team from LAs Rock Paper Scissors included editors Angus Wall and JD Smyth and executive producer Linda Carlson, and A52s team also included executive producer Mark Tobin, producer Ron Cosentino and online editors Tim Bird and Ben Looram.

The campaigns music was created by composer David Wittman of Elias Arts in Los Angeles, where Dave Gold is creative director and Dayna Turcott is producer and head of production. Skywalker Sound in Marin County, Calif., created the sound design and the final audio mixes.

About A52

Established in 1997 as a home for the very latest high-end photo-real visual effects technologies and the industrys most innovative and talented graphic design artists, West Hollywood visual effects and design company A52 creates award-winning imagery for the worlds most visually ambitious commercial and television projects.  The companys work has earned AICP Show recognition for five consecutive years along with recent Outstanding Commercial and Outstanding Main Title Design Emmys, Andy, BDA, Clio, British Design and Art Direction, International Monitor, International Automotive Advertising, London International Advertising, One Show and PROMAX awards. For more information, please call Mark Tobin at 310.385.0851 or visit

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Related Keywords:A52 , Daniel Barber , Denis Gauthier, Westley Sarokin, Craig ?X-Ray? Halperin , Josh Kolden


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