Director Hans-Christoph Schultheiss crafts full CG face-off pitting eSports champions FunPlusX against a formidable array of opponents.
Shanghai-based production company Final Frontier has produced a short fantasy epic for OPPO to promote its new Reno Ace 2 phone, in collaboration with 2019 League of Legends World Championship-winning team, FunPlusX. The commercial was directed by Hans-Christoph Schultheiss, backed by Hamburg multidisciplinary powerhouse studio, Sehsucht.
The 30-second spot features a mountaintop face-off between the FunPlusX team, represented by hooded CG avatars featuring elements of their actual LoL avatars, and a terrifying assortment of challengers.
According to Final Frontier executive producer Chris Colman, “We love these grand cinematic game pieces. They are always an enticing production challenge and the end results are amazing. As soon as the project brief appeared, we thought of Hans and Sehsucht. We’d been looking for the right opportunity to work together, and this character-driven, game-themed epic was just perfect.”
Schultheiss was joined on the project by a number of artists with a passion for eGaming; the director has always been passionate about eSports and video games as well. “It’s just so much more exciting to work on a project you can relate to on literally any level,” he says. “If you're making a living from talking about fantasy warriors and magic spells all day long, something is going pretty well.”
The initial challenge was finding timely solutions for the character design and storytelling. “With only six weeks from the get-go to launch, we needed a way to design, model, and animate six visually impressive yet viable FPX players, their avatars as well as a diverse team of challengers,” Colman explains. “On top of that, the avatars needed to clearly represent the FPX team members, yet also feature elements of the actual avatars they used in competition. Our audience are LoL and FPX aficionados and would spot any inaccuracies a mile off. It was a complex juggling act to incorporate all these elements and make it work inside the demanding schedule.”
Sehsucht producer Tanya Curnow concurs. “We had to find the sweet spot between character design, modelling, and asset creation and kicking off 3D production in time to meet the delivery deadline,” she adds. “We had to take a creative and flexible approach to almost every step, switching out stand-in assets with finals right up until the end. It was only a few days before delivery that our statues finally had heads. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 crisis hit here in Europe, meaning two weeks into production the Director, Producer, entire Art Department and other key 3D and compositing crew were working from home. Adapting quickly to remote work in the middle of full-scale production with all of the communication, data-exchange, and patience necessary, was a full team effort and a real credit to everyone involved.”
With the project now complete, Final Frontier has confirmed Schultheiss is joining its roster; for the director, working with Final Frontier proved rewarding enough that they now represent him for commissioned work. “Final Frontier is the ideal production partner,” he says. “Highly professional and experienced and at the same time absolutely passionate about the art. That was some excellent teamwork.”
“Hans and Sehsucht are absolute pros and showed it throughout this production, from start to finish,” Colman concludes. “We couldn’t be happier to have them with us on the roster. I cannot wait for the next one.”
Production Company: Final Frontier
Executives Producer: Gustavo Karam, Chris Colman, Julieta Zajaczkowski
Project Manager: Bella Jiang
Executive Producer: Asa Sha
Art Director: Chanp
Production Studio: Sehsucht, Hamburg
Director: Hans-Christoph Schultheiss
Head of Production: Jan Tiller
Producer: Tanya Curnow
Designers: Caroline Goehner, Axel Brötje, Julius Brockelmann
Storyboard Artist: Malte Romainczyk
3D Lead: Timo von Wittken
Animators: Markus Geerts, Lucas Wendler, Julia Fritsch
Source: Final Frontier
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.