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A52 Shows Nothing's Impossible With An Olympus Digital Camera

West Hollywood-based visual effects and design company A52 recently completed CG and visual effects work for the "Digital Experience" campaign for Olympus digital cameras by way of The Martin Agency. The spots feature a young boy who decides to have some fun with his Olympus digital camera at an aquarium. He shoots a close-up picture of a shark with its mouth open, then goes to another tank filled with small fish. He holds his camera up to the tank to show the small fish the image of the shark on the camera's LCD screen, and the fish quickly radiate away from the "shark" in all directions, much to the boy's delight. The voiceover states that, "With an Olympus digital camera, nothing's impossible." To create the scene where the small fish respond to the shark image, A52 created 1,000 CG fish that were ultimately integrated with the live-action footage, which was directed by Anonymous Content's Tom Carty. A52's team, consisting of producer Lisa Beroud, 3D supervisor and animator Denis Gauthier, 3D animators Jeff Willette and Westley Sarokin, graphic artist Shawn Baden and Henry artist/online editor Scott Johnson, used a photograph of an anchovy to map its texture onto an animated fish created in Houdini. That fish was then reproduced, and a school of fish was formed. "As the fish swim around in a circle, they follow a cylindrical pattern, but as soon as the little boy shows the image of the shark, we applied a particle system pattern and other forces to make them move away from the camera," Gauthier explained. All animation was done in Houdini. The fish were rendered in Renderman, composited in Silicon Grail Chalice and then touched-up in Henry. The 30-second and 15-second spots have been airing since November 2002.