Find out how Framestore created the BBC Euro 2012 idents which show embroidered emblems from European team badges come to life in a world of material textures
Framestore was given a brief to create a highly stylised, graphical, and illustrative film to be the opening sequence to the BBC’s Euro 2012 coverage.
It would hark to the creatures that appear on the national team badges – including the three English Lions, The German Eagle, and the lesser-known Giant Two-headed Bird of Russia – coming to life in an embroidered Otherworld, and preparing for battle.
Framestore’s team, led by Senior Designer Anthony Gibbs in the role of Art Director, began by developing an ancient and epic environment, and the fabulous creatures to inhabit it.
The animation, created by Director Steve Fuller, 15 Badgers and the whole crew at Framestore, with Producer Toby Courlander, immediately caught our eye.
We caught up with Framestore’s Anthony Gibbs, to ask him more about the highly stylised idents:
How the BBC Euro 2012 idents were created
“The brief was to create thread and cloth textures for the creatures and environments, to create a world of fabric that echoed the shirts and badges of the teams at the European Championships,” says Gibbs.
So Framestore used the graphical forms on the team badges as a starting point and brought each beast to life, taking design cues from sources including modern sculpture and Greek Mythology. “We aimed for a graphical, illustrative style that would strengthen the link between the creatures and the team emblems they represented, without the need to go too close to photoreality,” explains Gibbs.
“From a design perspective it was important for the look to be congruent across the different types of geometry, and also in the models, so it was key to develop something that would work across all the scenes, for all the assets.”
“Working with a small team and a very tight schedule, it was essential that we succeeded with this development, as there was not time to treat everything individually.”
Framestore used Photoshop and ZBrush for the Character development stage of the pipeline. Maya and After Effects were used for previz. The modelling was done using Maya, Mudbox and ZBrush. All the animation was done using Maya and After Effects was used for the compositing.
The 15 shots in the idents took about six weeks to complete and about 10 weeks were spent doing look development, previs and character development.
“Most of the time went into compositional work, rather than developing complex technical solutions,” says Gibbs.
“The character design process was done using ZBrush artists sketching in psuedo 3D,” explains Gibbs. “This allowed us to develop the concept art in a 3D space using Maya.”
After Effects proved to be the most useful piece of software: “Composing scenes in AE was very efficient,” says Gibbs. “It was flexible with our workflow and had all the tools necessary to achieve the look we wanted.
“Changes and tweaks could be made quickly, as the colour and look was all done in comp. Pro EXR (an AE plugin) splits out different render passes from EXR image files, saving render time and sequence file sizes.”
Shot 020 (the Polish Eagles scene) was a tricky sequence to create: “Surreal sense of scale/depth Maya camera data, shot smoke elements, rigging wings on eagle… We wanted the wings to behave more like blades than feathers, to keep the model in a fantasy world, and also to work effectively with the texture,” says Gibbs.
The English Lions scene
For shot 010, the English Lions scene, the aim was to create a Gothic, statuesque looking lion model.
Framestore wanted the lion model to be fierce, without being too aggressive or threatening. “The original concept was based on a modern sculpture made from old tyres, used as a reference,” says Gibbs.
“As the shots were high speed, we wanted to add movement into the lions’ manes, to give them more life. A wave deformer was used to achieve this effect. Using the UV map on the creatures, we made the thread texture appear to wrap around the contours of the lion models, like thread around a spool,” he continues.
“The environment was designed to be very angular and hard, and shaped to represent the English badge. It was built with the lighting setup in mind, to create dynamism in the shadows. We used depth maps and atmospheric elements to add drama to the scene.”
Thanks to Framestore’s Anthony Gibbs for taking the time to share this with us.
Watch the BBC Euro 2012 title sequence
The BBC London 2012 Olympic Games titles
The BBC has unveiled the title sequence for the London 2012 Olympic Games and it looks awesome.
You might have caught the 60-second teaser last night as it was broadcast during half-time in the Euro 2012 final. It’s got epic scenes from all over the UK and features fantastic CG athletes.
The concept was devised by creative agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe Y&R. The animation was created by Passion Pictures and it was produced by Red Bee Media.