Lincoln: “No Other Anything” | “All Things Equal” | “Something”


Lincoln: “No Other Anything”

Lincoln: “All Things Equal”

Lincoln: “Something”

COMMERCIAL
ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Public VFX
CLIENT: Lincoln, Ford
AGENCY: Team Detroit
DIRECTOR: Lance Accord

Lincoln gets a facelift for their luxury brand of vehicles, with the help of John Slattery, aka “Mad Men’s” Roger Sterling. Interesting that an actor portraying an ad man is the one doing the actual selling this time around. Prophetic, serendipitous, or simply ironic?

These three spots were primarily a 2D job done in Flame, with 3D support in the form of hold out mattes (from tracked geo), match-moved floor textures, and additional camera tracks to integrate matte paintings.

There were the usual suspects – removal of camera car reflections; replacement of dashboard monitors; and tinting of windows, and brightening of headlights.

A few flopped plates were introduced, as well, requiring correction of badges, license plates, and additional body features, so as not to read backwards.

Also, sets needed to be re-lit through color correction, using camera tracks and mattes projected on cards. And in a few instances of Slattery in the driver’s seat, motion blur needed to be removed after stabilization. That was a bit tricky, since there’s quite a bit of detail in his facial features, and he’s also delivering dialogue.

Sony Interactive Entertainment | Guerrilla Games: “Killzone 3”


VIDEO GAME CINEMATIC (STEREOSCOPIC)
ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Digital Domain
CLIENT: Sony Interactive Entertainment | Guerrilla Games
PRODUCTION CO: Mothership
DIRECTOR: Vernon Wilbert

This cinematic was one of my earliest forays into video game production. I was mainly a Flame conform artist for this portion of the wartime sci-fi epic “Killzone 3.” But considering its complexity in storytelling and pacing, I also served a bit on the editorial side. Plus, the most interesting challenge for me was that the entire cinematic was designed and rendered for stereoscopic viewing. That’s 3D to you and me.

At the time, assembling a 3D conform and aiding in the design of depth was a completely new territory in my experience. The industry was still undergoing a 3D renaissance, with new digital techniques and a bit of a wild west attitude. So a lot of what I did involved a try-anything approach, with full reign to experiment and innovate. Without question, that was fun.

Although commonplace today, back then, I had a fair-sized learning curve with color grading, stylistic treatments, and 2D effects work. And the stereoscopic editorial timeline not only doubled the amount of work, but also required an intuitive understanding of depth and convergence for each individual shot.

Royal Caribbean: “The Royal Caribbean Cruise Vacation DreamWorks Experience: Shrek”


COMMERCIAL
ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Digital Domain
CLIENT: Royal Caribbean
PRODUCTION CO: Radical Media
DIRECTOR: Dave Meyers

Collaborating with Dreamworks, Digital Domain helped Royal Caribbean cruise ships send off the season in style, with Shrek and Co. enjoying a vacation at sea.

Dreamworks supplied the character animation and DD handled the integration of those characters into live action plates, shot by long-time commercial director Dave Meyers.

Much of the compositing was done in Nuke, but Flame came in handy for the trickier shots, such as Shrek surfing or splashing in the water park. Flame was also the primary tool for all the stand-in and rig removals that plagued most of the filmed footage.

I also handled a bit of matte painting for Gingy’s cupcakes, as well as all the finishing touches and color grading that went into the final delivery.

Mazda Cx7: “Director’s Cut”


COMMERCIAL
ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Digital Domain
CLIENT: Mazda
PRODUCTION CO: Mothership
DIRECTOR: Dael Oates

Director Dael Oates originally shot this spot roughly three years prior to the current work done on it. Due to creative differences, the agency that commissioned it decided to go a different direction. Dael’s vision was never realized.

When Dael joined Digital Domain’s sister company Mothership, he finally had the opportunity to complete the work the way he always intended … hence, his director’s cut.

Dael shot a majority of the spot in camera, stop-motion-style, then enhanced it through editorial techniques.

Having worked with Dael before on 7 Days’ Croissants, I was brought on to enhance the edit, complete the visual effects, and color grade the entire spot.

Most of what you see is what he shot. Everything else was finished in Flame.

Infiniti FX: “Storm”


COMMERCIAL
ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Digital Domain
CLIENT: Infiniti
DIRECTOR: Nick Robertson

This was the second Infiniti spot I had the privilege of working on at DD. To date, it’s still one of my favorites of the shodo ink Infiniti series.

This time, the premise is a smooth ride through a hurricane … literally.

With plates shot in China, the team created a beautiful turbulent storm to enshroud the Infiniti FX vehicle. Everything started with overcast plates, sometimes precipitous, but never fully raining.

The entire stormfront had to be fabricated … from tempestuous clouds and wind-swept rain, to lightning strikes and crashing waves on a matte painted shoreline.

My primary contribution was to the interior shots, building 2.5D storm environments through a mountain pass, visible through the front and driver’s side window. The challenge was to create a frightening storm on the outside, while maintaining a meditative peace on the inside.

I also added crashing waves and churning mist to a handful of exterior driving shots.

Sprint QIK: “Golf Cart”


COMMERCIAL
ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / Nuke Compositor / Matte Painter
VENDOR: Digital Domain
CLIENT: Sprint
PRODUCTION CO: Mothership
DIRECTOR: David Rosenbaum

Third in the “salt flats” series, this Sprint spot showcases the streaming video capabilities of the EVO 4G, through a humorous vignette concerning a golfer, his girlfriend, and a golf cart.

I split duties on this job between Flame and Nuke, using the former for finishing, and the latter for compositing.

All of the salt flat environments are pan-and-tile backgrounds constructed from on-set photos and footage. The talent and the sliding train sets are all shot live action on greenscreen. The golf cart, for the most part, is CG. And the golf course is a matte painting I did in Photoshop with grass textures I found on the web.

Infiniti QX: “Discover”


COMMERCIAL
ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor / Matte Painter
VENDOR: Digital Domain
CLIENT: Infiniti

This is the first shodo ink Infiniti spot I had the privilege of working on for Digital Domain.

Although not quite as visually ground-breaking as the original “Master Driver” and “G-Line” spots that preceded it, this one instead placed its emphasis on the practical navigation and safety features that Infiniti has innovated for their QX line.

Visual razzle dazzle was unnecessary. The side and rear cameras and collision warning system were impressive technologies all on their own.

I handled the car clean-up and beauty work, exterior matte paintings (mainly rock-laden environments and wide shots of country roads), interior comps of exterior 2.5D meadow settings, and shodo brush strokes for the overhead birds shot, as well as the introductory wide shot.

Microsoft | Crytek: “Codename: Kingdoms”


E3 VIDEO GAME TRAILER
ROLE: On-Set 2D Supervisor / Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Digital Domain
CLIENT: Microsoft | Crytek
DIRECTOR: Robert Hales

Microsoft/Crytek commissioned this teaser trailer for E3 2010 to promote a yet-to-be-created video game, provisionally entitled “Codename: Kingdoms.”

Due to a compressed schedule, simulating CG gameplay was ruled out. Instead, the decision was made to shoot actors on greenscreen, then use post-production to create a video game look.

Composited entirely in Flame, with minimal CG, this teaser capitalizes on the use of matte paintings and stock elements, as a well as a number of image processing techniques.

In addition to aiding with the on-set shoot, I tackled all the wide shots of the warrior on the battlefield, a couple where he’s flanked by his fellow soldiers, and helped develop the overall visual style of the piece.

CÎROC Vodka: “Curling” | “Bull Jump” | “Salsa”


CÎROC: “Curling”

CÎROC: “Bull Jump”

CÎROC: “Salsa”

COMMERCIAL
ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Digital Domain
CLIENT: CÎROC
PRODUCTION CO: Radical Media
DIRECTOR: Dave Meyers

To promote CÎROC vodka, this humorous trio of spots places company founder and legendary rapper Sean “Puffy” Combs in a series of improbable activities to demonstrate how “perfectly smooth” his moves are.

Of course, Puff Daddy isn’t actually an expert salsa dancer, curling champion, or matador that can leap over a charging bull. But thanks to the wonders of laborious head tracking and vintage stock footage, he can achieve all these things.

P. Diddy was originally shot on greenscreen, mimicking a variety of head poses and reactions, all choreographed for integrating with the pre-selected stock footage. As expected, none of it really worked, requiring heavy time-warping, stitching of different takes, and stabilization and re-animation to make convincing.

Surprisingly, “Salsa” and “Bull Jump” came about pretty quickly, thanks to the quicker actions. Although, Puffy’s hand wave at the end of the latter proved a bit tricky to get his head to stick.

“Curling” was the most challenging, since the movement’s so subtle, and the glide is perfectly smooth, quite literally.

Each spot also had it’s fair share of clean-up, and in some case, application of CÎROC branding, in the form of banners and courtside branding.

Miley Cyrus: “Can’t Be Tamed”


MUSIC VIDEO
ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor / Matte Painter
VENDOR: Digital Domain
CLIENT: Hollywood Records
DIRECTOR: Robert Hales

In all my years, I never imagined myself working on a Miley Cyrus video – let alone the one that would mark the end of Hannah Montana wholesome goodness, instead promising future days of twerking and tongue-wagging.

Allegedly inspired by a dream, Miley’s wild rumpus through a museum of natural history features the former Disney poster girl in a provocative bird costume, escaping her cage and running wild like a Cirque du Soleil production possessed by Britney Spears.

Crammed into an aggressive two week post schedule, all compositing was done entirely in Flame.

I handled all of the matte paintings for the wide shots, creating wall extensions, ceiling arches and lighting for the museum interior, as well as capping the practical cage with a curtained dome.

Also, I built out all the feathered backgrounds for the peacock sequence, worked on a few CG wing comps, and tackled all the clean-up, and half the beauty work, of which there was more than you’d expect.