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SWAY Gives Robots Heart & Beat

Los Angeles studio brings 3D to life By Ko Maruyama
Recently, Los Angeles based SWAY Studio animated robots for a Hyundai Santa Fe commercial. Hundreds of computer generated robots were choreographed to move around the product. In a more recent animation completed for the Superowl XLI, a single robot captures the spotlight, and makes a few union brothers smile, if only for a moment.
Last year, SWAY produced the 3D for the new Hyundai facility in Alabama called "Hyundai Drumline". The spot was based on actual movements of 362 choreographed dancers, who provided inspiration for the movement of the robots.
In their latest 3D endeavor, SWAY created a :60 spot for GM. The commercial is about a robot who drops a bolt on the line, and gets fired. Ha! So the poor little robot gets canned, and goes out into the real world to find other jobs. You can check out the video at

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While there was a practical hero robot on set, a CG robot had to be created for some of the shots. And while using a 3D model throughout the entire spot might have taken longer to produce, the task of accurately recreating the practical robot in 3D, so it could match the shot elements is a difficult task.

Robert Glazer (pictured here at one of the 3D workstations), leader modeler at SWAY decided the studio would use Luxology's modo to complete the task of shaping the 3D geometry. "The model for 'Robot' needed to be very precise, and because modeling is one of the first tasks in the production pipeline, the pressure is on to be fast and efficient. modo definitely delivered!"
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And even more recently, SWAY was awarded with the award for Outstanding Visual Effects in a music video. At the 5th Annual Visual Effects Society Awards Gala, SWAY Studios was recognized for the 3D work it completed in the music video for U2 & Greenday "The Saints are Coming."

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The music video features some beautiful particle animations using NextLimit's RealFlow software which simulates fluid dynamics like no other application. The deft manipulation by SWAY resulted in some stunning, photorealistic imagery, showing what could have been a different, quicker response to Hurricane Katrina.

Both modo and RealFlow are available for Mac and PC operating systems. Certain minimum system configurations are required. Check their websites for more. There are also demo versions of the software on their sites.
You can see more about SWAY, including samples and contacts at
You can check out Luxology modo at
For RealFlow, check out

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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:Company Profile, 3D, Superbowl Commercial, modo, realflow, liquid particles, 3D modeling

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