The BFX Studios at The Blade Works facility in Johannesburg was recently tasked with supplementing live action foliage to “green’ the roofs of buildings in the Johannesburg city centre for a Vodacom commercial directed by from Star Productions.
Project team leader Yolandi Meiring explains that their concept artist, veteran 2D artist Ernst du Plessis, sat down with Holmes during pre-production and did drawings straight onto location stills to what the roof garden would look like.
“It became clear during this phase that what could be achieved in-camera by the art department would not match the expectations of the creative team. So the decision was made to add the majority of the greenery in post-production,’ explains Meiring.
“The final result was achieved with paintings by Shannan Taylor (an Animation Mentor alumni and recent addition to the BFX team), but it was combined with rendered 3D elements because we needed to show the roof garden from several angles.’
According to Meiring they also wanted to put their newly acquired third party render engine to the test. “It was initially developed to render CG for films and is optimised to handle large quantities of geometry efficiently. Its ability to simulate plausible, realistic lighting and motion blur with ease was the reason that BFX acquired the licenses a couple of months ago. It has since become an invaluable tool in our VFX pipeline.’
Meiring notes that, under normal circumstances, they would have been worried about rendering dense geometry such as trees. “However, with our new renderer we didn’t have that technical hurdle. So the biggest challenge was really just the scope of what had to be created, including water slides, ivy, trees, crops, flowers, benches, hedges and extra buildings. The post schedule was two weeks long.’
The CG team on the job was Meiring, and Ryan Lloyd and the lead Flame artist was Jean du Plessis.
By Linda Loubser
screen africa magazine – september 2012