The Making of Blue Moon Brewmaster’s Inspiration
Thanks to tracking points on the table and on the book itself, I knew where the book was sitting in space. So, I created four curves for each page, perfectly matching their borders. Then I created a cluster for each vertex of the curves and animated all the clusters through the shotCam (that's what I like to call the render camera), matching all the page turns. Next I used the planar tool to generate the surfaces, perfectly matching the real pages moving. Et voilà!
Since the shot with the book was too long to be treated as a single Maya scene, we split it into five segments, one per page. Each page had a different beer selection: Belgian White and the Seasonal, Expressionist, Vintage Ale and Graffiti collections. Each beer collection had a different painting style.
The team of CG artists (Jonathan Bliss, Daniel Edery, Ruta Lauzikaite, Lily Heng, Josh Suyemoto, Shaun Sewter and myself) then built “the magic” coming out of each page of the brewmaster’s book. We modeled and textured all the elements for each page. To break the edges of the otherwise too-clean and CG-looking models, we added planes with brush stroke textures hanging in space close to the models.
We imported all the elements into Maya projects and constrained them to the animated pages.
Each object was revealed by animated opacity that we painted in Photoshop using the UVs as guides. Photoshop has a better brush selection than After Effects and using the built-in timeline, it was fairly easy to create the image sequences we needed. We painted them so the elements would reveal from bottom to top, as they were growing up, directly from the pages.
To match the stop-motion feel of the entire spot, we tried to reveal entire brush strokes each frame, as if the artist was painting in a three dimensional space, using the air above the book as a canvas. For the key elements, like the beer bottles and glasses, we used animated maps plugged into the diffuse color of the shaders. Doing so, we could achieve what real painters do, painting different passes on the same portion of the canvas, to get the final artwork. In other words, we see the bottles revealing and then we see the labels painted on.
For some elements, like the ground in the first page, we shot painter Joan Doyle’s real paintings as she created them, using UV printouts as a guide. We shot them in stop-motion on a greenscreen. Once keyed, we used the footage as perfectly matching color and opacity maps for our CG models. This process helped to give the render more realism.
We rendered almost everything in Mental Ray, using nearly flat shaders (high value in the ambient color) since we baked highlights and shadows in the color maps of the elements. The shaders weren’t completely flat because we wanted our three dimensional paintings to react to a virtual lighting setup matching the one used while shooting the hands and the table with the book and all the props.
To achieve a more interesting look and help focus the eyes on the product we were advertising, we also used VRay to create photo-real renders of bottles and glasses so we could composite them with the Mental Ray painting-like renders. As a final touch to the main shot, we added a subtle fog pass that reacts to the turning pages and the five different worlds growing up from them.