Find out how Pixomondo used a combination of 3D software to create this abstract dance-infused spot to promote the 2012 Grammy awards. Watch the full commercial here too
International VFX company Pixomondo recently collaborated with advertising agency TBWA/Chiat/Day to create this spot featuring electronic musician and Best New Artist nominee Skrillex.
Based on the We Are Music campaign, the ad is filled with liquid metal pulsating to Skrillex’s beats.
Pixomondo first got involved with the project after receiving a treatment and mood animatic from the agency. Creative director Simon Mowbray explains, “Matt Kalish – director from Chiat – had a specific style in mind, and provided a lot of reference material accompanying his animatic and written brief.
“Our designer Alex Yoon executed a short test sequence which the agency fell in love with – this helped answer a lot of questions about the approach we’d take as well as the look and feel. However, we were coming up with solutions and new approaches all the way to the end.”
After nailing the look and feel of the spot, production got underway with Pixomondo handling everything from the design through to execution – including match-moving and camera tracking of the live-action, ingesting the mo-cap data from the live-action dancer and applying it to a biped used to emit the liquid-metal particles.
To create the intricate effects, the Pixomondo team found that more than one piece of software would be required.
“We threw everything at it: Cinema 4D, 3D Studio Max (mostly Particle Flow, Thinking Particles and Fume), ThinkBox Frost to create the liquid metal mesh sequences, Maya, Flame, After Effects, Frischluft, Nuke…,” Mowbray explains.
Well choreographed tools
The combination of tools allowed the team to create the exact style they were looking for.
“Cinema 4D was the primary software for lighting, mostly because it allowed us to get the look we wanted very quickly, as well as the ease of sharing camera data with After Effects,” says Mowbray. “3ds Max with Thinkbox Frost was invaluable – it generated beautiful meshes from Particle Flow efficiently and with lots of control.”
Every aspect of the spot was managed meticulously, right down to the direction in which the liquid metal moved.
“The most impressive aspect of this spot was probably having the ability to direct the action of the metal flows,” Mowbray explains. “Even though it was all mo-cap driven particles – with all the associated randomness – we were still able to determine how each distinct shot should flow and had a lot of aesthetic control for such a simulation based project.”