ATTIK, Ambience Drive Animated Scion Transformer Spot

ATTIK provided production details on its Scion TRANSFORMER spot, one of three :60 theatrical commercials conceived by ATTIK and produced by Sydney-based visual effects, animation and design company Ambience Entertainment. The animated spot is targeted specifically at young males in the U.S. and dramatically fictionalizes the evolution of Scion's first models, the Scion xA and xB, from robot form.

TRANSFORMER is currently airing in theaters in the southwest as ATTIK's ongoing Scion campaign begins its trek eastward across the U.S. Scion is the new car marquee from Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc., and ATTIK's campaign is designed to capture creative interpretations of Scion and reinforce its tagline, "What moves you."

"In our research, we found automotive marketing to be largely devoid of brands trying to do something different," said ATTIK's group creative director Simon Needham, who is also creative director on the Scion account. "By addressing lifestyle issues rather than focusing purely on the products, we feel our campaign's spots are unique enough to resonate with our audience."

Ambience's project director Rob Dupear sought to package the action, speed, attitude and look of the gaming world in the spot to capture the hearts and minds of the target audience, while also striving to avoid a 3D look. "I wanted a very raw, organic look, where randomness and unpredictability were key themes in the visual style," Dupear explained.

The director began his conceptualization with the robot itself; every single element of the robot was defined, designed and laid out in multiple views so that they could be accurately modeled by the Ambience 3D team. The team performed their work on a brand new Quantel gQ video design system as well as a number of Maya and Digital Fusion workstations.

Morten Rowley, Ambience's lead designer, explained how his team's efforts ensured the smooth transformation from robot to Scion: "The shape of the robot's head matches the bonnet of the xA... the arms match the mud guards, and of course, the metallic colors and textures of the robot are taken straight from the cars themselves."

Rowley and his team also applied a painstaking design process to the lab environment from which the robot explosively escapes.

"Technically speaking," Rowley added, "I had a very clear idea of the motion the explosion would take, so I created the lab as a rough in 3D and animated each shard as they would be in the final scene."

After visualizing the robot and the virtual environments, the Ambience team shot live-action motion-control footage of the two Scion models on Super 35mm. The film was scanned and imported into the gQ as uncompressed 10-bit DPX files. Effects shots were loaded into gQ as uncompressed 2K files to allow for frame repositioning.

Connected by a gigabit network, Ambience used the gQ as a hub for their 3D and design workstations; files were transferred as 10-bit DPX files to allow all final compositing and grading to be completed on the gQ.

The finished project was recorded out to film as both 2.35:1 Cinemascope and 1.85:1 flat releases; also, a 1080/24P version was output to HDCAM, an NTSC version was output to D1 using the gQ's realtime 3:2 pull down, and a PAL DigiBeta master was produced for each company's showreels.

Ambience's credits consist of:

Exec Producer - Mark SmaleDirector Transformer - DupearDirector EndTag - Garry JacquesTransformer VFX Producer - Rowan MathesonEndTag/Projections Post Production Producer - Mandy FanningProducers Assistant - Melissa Heagney3D Animation Director - Ben Cowell3D Animation Technician - Dean ErvikCreative Director - Eddy HerringsonAnimator / Editor - Eddy HerringsonVFX Supervision - Rowley, Ben CowellMotion Picture Imaging - Dream Light Imaging Pty LtdDesigner - Rowley3D Animation Director - Ben Cowell3D Technical Supervisor - Dean ErvikEditor - Damien MessinghamCompositors - Morten Rowley, Lisa Woodland, Daniel Loiu, Octavio De Lillis, Serge Kovalenko, Colin Rhodes, Mark Facchin, Laef Hoskings, Vanessa Taylor3D Animators / Modelers - David Henderson, Ben Cowell, Bernard Stock,Andrew Mc Donald "Macca," Scott Tansley, Prabhakar James, Kanin Phemayothin, Allan McKay, Ryan Grobins, Dean Ervik3D Texture Artists - Phil Wittmer, Camela ChengRotoscopers - James Rose, Bianca DiCrescenzoData / Render Angler - Sandy SutherlandTape Operator - Luke Smale

San Francisco-based ATTIK (www.attik.com) is a global brand communications group committed to designing creative experiences that inspire consumers through compelling communications. ATTIK articulates corporate brand strategy, designs creative solutions and produces for every medium.

Established in 1989, Ambience (www.ambienceentertainment.com) specializes in digital technology and contains postproduction division that produces 18 commercial campaigns a year featuring 3D animation and vfx.

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