Disney Theme Parks: “Jungle Cruise”

ROLE: Senior Nuke Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Digital Domain
CLIENT: Disney Theme Parks

This humorous spot for Disney Theme Parks was among one of my first Nuke compositing jobs for Digital Domain. I’d mainly done Flame work for them.

The spot capitalizes on the animatronic animals of the popular Jungle Cruise ride. The premise is that when people aren’t looking, the animatronic animals come to life, talking amongst themselves about Disney’s latest admission deals.

I handled most of the lion’s den shots, featuring the lion, lioness, and reclining zebra, as well as the toucans, giraffes, and a wide shot of all the animals in an open meadow. Depending on the shot, animals were either entirely CG, just their heads, and on a few occasion, just the mouths and eyes.

In case you were wondering, the look was intended to be photoreal animatronic, not photoreal animal.

Rexona: “Man Adventure”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
CLIENT: Rexona
AGENCY: Vegavega Olmos Ponce

This humorous spot for Rexona deodorant was created for a South American audience.

Primarily a rig removal spot, the premise is that a mountain biker loses his front tire while riding through a forest. To avoid crashing, he chases it, riding uni-wheel, until he can catch up and ultimately re-attach it.

Shot practically, the spot necessitated many cable removals, all to balance and support the bicyclist riding on his rear wheel through rugged terrain. One of the bigger challenges was a handful of shots, which to better suit the narrative, required the front tire’s removal from the plate.

I contributed cable and tire removals, as well as compositing the concluding chase and re-attachment of the front tire. The most complicated was a front tire removal for the concluding shot, involving the bicyclist riding towards camera, chasing his lost tire rolling in front of him.

Nescafe: “Sunrise”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
CLIENT: Nescafe

Intended for Mexican television, this elegant spot for Nescafe focuses on the magical transition from night into day, all through the actions of a child.

In the moments before daybreak, a family treks to a meadow, where they encounter the dividing line between evening dark and morning light.

The child takes the initiative, reaching his grasping hand towards the sunlight, and literally pulling the morning light into the night. Everyone, consequently, gets in on the action, ultimately bringing a Nescafe coffee-drinking morning to the waking town.

For this spot, I worked on a number of the night and day meadow shots, as well as when townsfolk are chasing the line between night and day. Many of these were accomplished with complicated color corrections and multiple plates. I also contributed to meadow sky replacements and some additional clean-ups for the town.

Selena Gomez (Sears Arrive Air Band): “I’m Gonna Arrive”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor

To promote their Fall ’09 school fashions, Sears chose not to go” back” to school. They chose to “arrive.”

“I’m Gonna Arrive” was the defining slogan for this ambitious campaign, focused on the freedom and excitement of starting the school year in style.

And arrive they did, enlisting child star Selena Gomez, as well as a number of other talented kids, to create a music video centered completely around a super-choreographed youth-oriented “air-band.”

Themed with four musical genres – rock, hip-hop, skater, and pop – the video features these kids dancing, lip-syncing, and playing their favorite “air” instruments.

My contributions are primarily for the opening rock section, accomplished entirely in 2D with Flame, compositing cityscapes, sky and atmosphere, and fireworks behind greenscreen rooftop dance footage.

I also aided in the execution of the clothes-changing transition from school yard to rooftop, as well as did some CG comp work on the backgrounds for the hip-hop and pop sections.

Acura: “Safety”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / Nuke Compositor
VENDOR: Motion Theory
DIRECTOR: Kaan Atilla & Mathew Cullen

This is one of two spots for Acura. The premise centers on Acura’s superior ratings in car safety, as visually compared to numerous recognizable luxury cars, which are also perceived to be high-ranking in the safety deaprtment.

This is demonstrated through an elegant display of numerous iconic car badges and grills, cut together with voiceover. After branded images of Jaguar, BMW, and Lexus, to name a few, the spot concludes on Acura as the leader.

Sounds simple enough. But as car commercials go, everything has to look perfect, even if 90% of the spot features the competitors’ cars.

My role was to make these cars look as pristine as possible, using Nuke to eliminate unwanted rig reflections and dirt, clean up chrome artifacts, remove radiators behind the grillwork, combine multiple lighting passes, and replace the backgrounds.

I also handled conform duties in Flame.

Green Day: “Know Your Enemy”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Motion Theory
CLIENT: Warner / Reprise
DIRECTOR: Mathew Cullen

At the time, Green Day’s “Know Your Enemy” was the band’s first new material in more than five years. Thus, the music video needed to make an immediate and lasting impression – i.e. it had to kick-ass.

Known for their powerhouse performances, the live element of the video was a given. Director Mathew Cullen brought the concept of a “city under lockdown” to the table, where the band’s performance would be surrounded by ever-encroaching and oppressive prison imagery – guard towers, helicopters, walls, barb wire, etc.

My role focused on a number of tasks. I composited a couple of hero city-as-prison shots, as well as all the full-color fire shots, blending multiple plates to create maximum impact.

I also handled all the beauty work, making the band look younger and more vibrant than the night shoot would allow. And I tackled a number of location clean-ups, removing unwanted elements, signage, etc. that detracted from the over-arching dystopian concept.

Black Eyed Peas: “Boom Boom Pow”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Motion Theory
CLIENT: Interscope Records
DIRECTOR: Mathew Cullen & Mark Kudsi

When I started work on this video, the Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow” was already sitting comfortably at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Due to an unofficial leak, the song found it’s way to the internet well-before its scheduled debut. And needless-to-say, it’s popularity exploded. Hence, the band wanted a slick groundbreaking video, as soon as was deemed creatively possible.

To say the visual interpretation of “Boom Boom Pow” had a lot to live up to was a bit of an understatement.

Thematically, the video is all about transforming negative energy into positivity – i.e. the machine gun into a trumpet, the toxic barrel into a drum kit, the band into streaking light NRG, etc.

As Flame Artist, my role was primarily color grading and beauty work on all the band footage – i.e. making Fergie and co. look better than ever. Also, I did a fair bit of work on the digital energy glitch effects that appear throughout their performance.

Purex: “Thinnest Load of Laundry”

ROLE: Senior Nuke Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Motion Theory
DIRECTOR: Mark Kudsi

Promoting Purex’s new 3-in-1 laundry sheets, this spot compares the latest detergent innovation to the evolution of certain essential products throughout time. The comparison being how certain products have become thinner – cameras, television sets, and clothing, for example.

Visually, the established style aimed for a stop-motion appearance, with each of the products transforming from old to new, fatter to thinner.

The products were shot in real-time, situated on turntables with a white backing. The stop-motion appearance was added in comp, with in-betweens created to aid the fluidity of motion. Also, extensive clean-up was done to make the products throughout the ages look pristine and pleasant.

My tasks were focused on the television and clothing segments, as well as performing clean-up on the concluding washer and dryer.

NFL: “Run”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Motion Theory
CLIENT: NFL Networks
DIRECTOR: Mathew Cullen

NFL’s superbowl spot was designed to promote broadcast, online, and mobile coverage of the game. The commercial featured Oakland running back Darren McFadden in a continuous jog through the seasons to demonstrate that football season never ends. Add the debut of U2’s “Run” into the mix, and you’re ready for Game Day.

As one of four flame artists, my role was to clean-up, assemble, and comp elements for the training camp portion of the spot. This included tracking matte paintings, extending the football field, adding shadows, grading skies, repo-ing cheerleaders, and comping CG elements.

Considering a shorter than typical schedule, under a week, there was quite a bit of give and take to make this one work.

Sara Bareilles: “Gravity”

ROLE: 2D Lead / Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Motion Theory
CLIENT: Epic Records
DIRECTOR: Mathew Cullen

The music video for “Gravity” was my most rewarding experience working with director Mathew Cullen at Motion Theory. He shot a one-take sequence of artist Sara Bareilles, who’s performance, while walking down a city street, depicts a symbolic journey that takes her to the edge of the universe.

All shot in-camera, street lights resembled stars and comets, an outdoor book stand appeared as Saturn, a ball of flowers looked like Jupiter, and a spray of water from a hydrant swirled like a spiral galaxy. A very unique and artful bit of work, to say the least.

My role was two-fold.

As Lead, I developed an efficient workflow that could successfully accommodate a one-take three and half minute video, then broke those elements out for a team of Flame and After Effects Artists to tackle under my supervision.

As Flame Artist, I designed the color grade to capture the feel of approaching the edge of the universe. I also augmented existing in-camera imagery with subtle 2D tricks that further emphasized elements without seeming artificial, such as creating starfields that mimicked the architecture of buildings, and adding nebula and galaxy effects to existing steam, lights, and water sprays.