John Lewis - The Bear and Hare - 2013 Seasonal CGI Amazing coloured pencil drawings Tokyo City Symphony Luis Nieves - Baywood Red Light

1 March 2013

Galaxy Chocolate - They had me completely fooled

Hello readers,

It's not often that I get caught out by a piece of CGI, but when AMV BBDO and Galaxy Chocolate aired their new advert "Choose Silk Chauffeur" it wasn't obvious to me that CGI had been used at all. This was slightly embarrassing as I didn't think this was actually Audrey Hepburn, but merely a really convincing double.

So lets delve into how they fooled me and hopefully everyone else too.

Through clever casting, the creators managed to get a perfect double for Audrey Hepburn who could, through her performance share the same facial features and characteristics. From this they then captured the double's face perfectly using a FACS (facial action coding system) session . This allowed the team to capture 70 possible muscle movements which could be translated to the CG Audrey model as well as capturing high resolution facial textures.

The real Audrey Hepburn

Digitally recreated Audrey Hepburn

The next step was to complete all the live filming on Italy's Amalfi coast. The footage of the double and all the extras which were given to Framestore, the visual effects studio working on the project. Framestore then brought together the footage and the CGI. Present at the filming where Framestore VFX supervisors William Bartlett and Simon French to make sure the correct lighting and tracking data was captured. This involved multiple witness cameras to perfectly track the actresses face.

Close up shows the level of detail in the modelling and the texturing

Using all the data from the FACS head scan, the digital facial rig was created multiple times for the individual facial expressions which could then be blended together during the animation phase.  The biggest challenge for the team in recreating an unmistakable Audrey Hepburn was getting the signature facial features spot on from her smile to her eyes. Originally the double was chosen for her similar eyes so that the facial rig could be built around them. In the end the team recreated every aspect of her face as this was the only way to get the look perfect. As for her smile, a team of four animators hand animated precisely posed expressions in every shot to realistically recreate the star. Simon French states that "it's amazing how unique and how recognizable a person's smile is. When you see it in this detail, it really needs to look perfect."

 Effective lighting using Arnold really brings the CGI to life

The rendering was completed using the Arnold rendering system. This system allowed the team to simulate accurate tracing of light and to perfect the soft, translucent feel of real skin.

Example of high quality photo realistic work

What I really like about this work is that it is so well done that it doesn't fall into the "Uncanny valley." This is a term used in the CGI industry for when a person is created in digital software that isn't 100% convincing. When you see it you immediately know something isn't quite right and you dismiss it as not being real, which ultimately can make you feel rather uneasy.

An example of the Uncanny valley

I think this advert is an excellent example of what can be done using CGI and I look forward to being completely fooled by work of this quality in the future.

Happy reading.

Ryan Blackburn - Media Productions


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for submitting a comment. Don't forget to visit www.sovibrant.co.uk to learn more about our work.