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Framestore NY Creates CG Envoy Denali for GMC Spot

Framestore NY has completed work on POETRY, a :30 spot for GMCs new Envoy Denali via agency Carol H. Williams. POETRY, which develops around the visual motif of materializing fantasies, features underground hip hop artist Mos Def and began airing May 7.

POETRY begins with the viewer peering through a metallic honeycomb through which a figure stands beyond. The camera zooms through the center hole only to be immersed in darkness. The only light source highlights a black suited Mos Def. As Mos Def raps about the aesthetic and representational qualities of the new Denali, various parts of the car surface from the darkness and catch the light. The pieces assemble into a sleek black SUV. Following a shot of the leather-clad interior, the viewer is then moved around the side of the car and finally to the front where the metallic honeycomb is revealed to be the Envoys grill.

The spot ends with the viewer being pulled back out of the opening. The word Denali quickly appears and fades into the blackness, succeeded by the emergence of the GMC logo. Below it reads: We Are Professional Grade.

Mos Def conceptualizes the Denali in his imagination and presides over the car as it comes together in a subtle and ambiguous way, said David Hulin, CG supervisor, Framestore NY. We wanted to mirror his fantasy by building a car so real looking no one would think it was a visual effect.

The fanciful themes of the commercial extend to the SUV itself. The parts showcased throughout the commercial were all created in CG. The technical process required modeling all the individual parts of the SUV and designing realistic surface shading to acquire the sleek and sophisticated look of the SUV.

GMC provided us with CAD data that we used as a guide when we remodeled the car, Hulin added. The reason for this is that we wanted the CG model to be an absolute replica of the real thing. When youre working with a reflective surface if there is the slightest flaw you can immediately pick it out.

The challenge was ensuring the car looked and moved realistically. To meet the clients expectations, artists constructed a flattering lighting environment for the Denali that would complement that which was used on Mos Def. High dynamic range imaging (HDRI) was used to light the car, giving a greater level of control during compositing (which was supervised by Framestore NYs Murray Butler).

Tools used on POETRY include Maya, mental ray, Shake and Flame.

London-based Framestore CFC ( opened its New York office in 2003, with the aim of building on its burgeoning international reputation with US agencies. 2004 saw the New York office going from strength to strength, with spots created for Ambien, Bacardi, Skittles, the Maryland Lotto, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Choice Hotels International and Baileys Irish Cream. Early this year, Framestore NY relocated to a new location on Spring Street, SoHo, complete with roof meadow.