Culver City/Vancouver-based visual effects house Zoic Studios causes panic and adventure through aggressive mustache critters in the new social film, “The Power Inside,” for Intel and Toshiba out of Pereira & O’Dell, San Francisco. The film’s plot follows an alien invasion by a race of extraterrestrial mustaches and unibrows who take over the upper lips and eyes of people around the world. The geeky-yet-charming Neil teams up with his friends to employ technology to combat to oppressive alien (Urick) creatures. The first seven-minute episode debuted on August 15th, and episodes will continue to launch each Thursday at 11am PST for the next six weeks at www.thepowerinside.com.
The film is the third Intel/Toshiba collaboration with Hollywood directors to create a studio level film, with last year’s “The Beauty Inside” film receiving widespread acclaim including a 2013 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding New Approach to Daytime Programming. Viewers can also interact with the film through social networks, uploading photos to the Facebook page to potentially be a part of one of the episodes or interacting with the hero character, Neil, on the page.
Zoic creative director Robert Moggach led a team of artists to realize the complex creature effects on this social film. The team delivered their fine-tuned expertise for character animation, which was recently illustrated through the studio’s Emmy-nominated work on TNT’s Falling Skies and Netflix’s Hemlock Grove as well as recent commercial work for AT&T and Visa.
Based on the idea for the Urick creatures, Zoic artists crafted concept art for a unique creature that was reminiscent of an insect with a mustache aesthetic, while not being too gimicky or cartoonish. After working closely with Pereira & O’Dell and Furlined directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon to achieve the ultimate look, the animation team went to work to explore how these menacing mustaches would move. Utilizing animal references including spiders, crabs and moray eels, the artists worked carefully to find a balance of natural and fantastical movement that would provide an eerie quality shrouded with ironic overtone.
Moggach and DFX Supervisor Ryan McDougal were on set for the entire 7-day shoot, working closely with the directors to ensure that the VFX would fold in seamlessly in postproduction. Notes Moggach, “Every day on set was a great day and everyone was really energized. Everyone was truly on the same team and working hard to make the film look incredible. It was great to have a hands-on approach.”
Zoic harnessed its robust internal VFX pipeline to deliver the unearthly creatures on an accelerated timeline. The Urick aliens were rendered in V-Ray for Maya, composited in Nuke and finished in Flame. In addition to the creation and animation of the Urick creatures, Zoic was also tasked with additional CG elements including creating the sinister red eyes of Urick victims as well as supplementary space elements including an unexpected dashing comet in Episode 1.
“The Power Inside” is Zoic’s second project with Furlined and the studio is extremely appreciative of the level of collaboration offered by directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon. Says Zoic executive creative director Chris Jones, “It’s been a great summer project working with Will and Josh, and we’re very proud of the work we’ve done together over the past year.”
Source: Zoic Studios