A Very British Bear Tale.
HEAD OF CREATIVE MARKETING: Deborah Bee
ART DIRECTOR: Barney Pickard
CHARACTER DESIGN: Antonin Herveet
MUSIC/SFX: Seán O’Reilly
Mainframe was delighted (if slightly surprised as it was only February) to be invited by Harrods to work with them on their iconic Christmas 2016 campaign, A Very British Bear Tale.
Mainframe worked closely with Head of Creative Marketing, Deborah Bee and Art Director Barney Pickard to lovingly bring to life Bee’s original story of Hugh the Harrods Bear saving Christmas.
Mainframe developed the ‘screenplay’ and storyboard of the project, then, over the course of several months we un-seasonally swathed the studio with Christmas spirit. Designing and developing the characters and environments, modelling, previzing, animating, rendering and compositing the 90 second spot. The result is a heartwarming tale that’s been enthusiastically received by both the press and public.
The work will be aired across TV, Cinema, Social, In-store, and on the Harrods App.
ps. Sorry we’ve made Christmas happen from the start of November…
SOUND: Max Greening
This is a cutdown featuring just the CG elements of a larger promotional film to launch the Atom suitcase from Antler. We produced and directed a small studio shoot, created CG animations of the case being ‘rammed’ to illustrate the durability required for a few rounds with airport baggage handlers and designed the abstract graphics sequences to represent the intricate detail and formidable strength of this new product.
CLIENT: Nike Global Brand Design
ART DIRECTION: David Brady / Golden
3D SCAN: Mainframe
2016 has seen Mainframe working closely with Nike Global Brand design studio on a number of projects for new product launches.
We’ve been busy creating promo animations, high res stills and product photography for the new 'Lunar Epic', 'Nike Air Zoom All Out Flyknit' and 'Kid’s Nike Air Zoom Pegasus All Out Flyknit’.
High-end CGI coupled with incredibly detailed 3d scans were used to create the 10 second films and stills which have formed the cornerstone of Nike’s marketing campaigns and were rolled out at Nike.com, in-store and on social media.
AUDIO: MAX GREENING
As long time users of 3d software Autodesk Maya we were thrilled to be asked us to create a striking intro sequence for their Vision Series videos. A showcase for their thought leadership in all things 3d and beyond.
Our answer, to what was a very open brief, was to abstract the journey of a beam of light as it travels through to an eye. We used many of Maya's features in the execution of this piece but it also served to show off what can be achieved using our plugin MASH which Autodesk acquired from us in 2015. MASH now ships as part of Maya 2016 Extension 2 and has made some big waves in the Motion Graphics world following its announcement at NAB in April '16.
We were asked to base this piece around a clockwork insect. We then devised and re-imagined a Bee's journey through beautiful gold and diamond encrusted garden scene arriving at a hive inspired by Faberge design combined with the dome atop the Harrods building.
It was great to be able to write, produce, direct and animate a piece of content that has the versatility to play out as a cinema advert as well as in store, online and iPad app content. Stills from the animation are also featuring in press ads running in Vanity Fair, Tatler and Harpers Bazar
DESIGN / ANIMATION / DIRECTION / PRODUCTION
AUDIO: MAX GREENING
Following on from our work on the Vision Series project we were delighted to be invited back by Autodesk to create an intro sequence for their online Maya channel.
Again, creatively it was a very open brief - 'show off the features in Maya'.
The simple form of a cube bursting open to reveal layers of interest and complexity is intended to echo the creative process before finding Maya at the centre of it all; the nucleus enabling all this creativity. We used many Maya features in the execution of this piece including Xgen, nCloth, Bifrost and, of course, MASH.
CLIENT: CHANNEL 5
CREATIVE DIRECTION: JODY MALAM / ALUN CONSTABLE
As part of their network wide rebrand the good folk at Channel 5 asked us to create a series of continuity bumpers for their schedule.
A fun part of the rebrand process to be involved with, the brief was to create abstract graphic moments using the new segmented logo that would start and end from the logo’s hero location. After creating a number of exploratory animations the creative directors curated these final versions to develop and deliver.
Each bumper was created in all of the channel colour ways equaling 56 possible options… each of these options are paired with multiple continuity messages as white type overlaid resulting in countless possible variations!
CLIENT: LOUIS VUITTON
AGENCY BETC: PARIS
Mainframe added to our luxury brand portfolio with this animated journey through an abstract jewellery landscape. We worked closely with the amazing Chris Turner, who provided us with beautifully photographed stills. We then recreated each piece of jewellery in 3D, allowing us to travel through the scenes for the animated sequence. The final piece was used across various social media platforms, including the Louis Vuitton website.
DESIGN / ANIMATION / VFX / DIRECTION / PRODUCTION
Mainframe were delighted to be part of BMW’s recent XDrive campaign. Working with Oxfordshire based Juice Productions, Mainframe were tasked with producing a beautiful piece of content that explained to the masses the ins and outs of XDrive. Taking the lead from the live action above the line campaign, Mainframe’s 3d team created a particle system that cleverly mimicked a set of iron filings reacting to a high powered magnet.
ANIMATION / VFX
CLIENT: Red Bull
We were thrilled to work with Red Bull and UMTV on the graphics package for their countdown show 'Worldies'. With 30 episodes showcasing the most incredible moments in action sports, variety was key to keep each one fresh. Using abstracted visual cues echoing the sports featured throughout the show, we created a set of 15 Number Stings as well as the Title Sequence and In-Show Graphics package. This is a highlight reel of some of the number stings.
Watch the shows here - redbull.tv/show/AP-1M7V6T22D2111/worldies
CLIENT: RUSSIAN STANDARD VODKA
DIRECTOR: CALUM MACDIARMID
PRODUCTION: GREAT GUNS
Mainframe have built on their relationship with award winning director Calum Macdiarmid with this epic series of films for Russian Standard Vodka. The spots follow US 'futurist and film maker' Jason Silva as he explores the origins and science behind Russian Standard Vodka. Mainframe were heavily involved from the start of the project, from supervising the shoot right through to extensive cgi, compositing and grade. Mainframe completed over 150 shots, all in house, on what was one of the most complex projects in it's history.
Deliverables included this 3'35'' film which was premiered at The Science Museum, a 60' version for cinema and two 30's for worldwide TV. The project was conceived by the excellent Myagency and produced by the venerable folks at Great Guns.
ANIMATION / VFX
The client came to us with a fairly open concept for this spot, a nest of ants work together to create the iconic Harrods logo using parts from watch movements.
Mainframe was responsible for creating the flow and narrative of the spot, concentrating on camera moves and set-ups, trying to create shots that would draw the viewer into the story and emphasise the macro scale of the scenes.
An important part of the R&D for our animators was studying the behaviour and movement of ants. We were lucky to find some amazing reference footage from a BBC documentary, (always at the forefront of the game!). This was vital as reference for the last two shots, how they interact in the piles or ‘death spiral’, as it is known in ant circles.
The studio predominantly uses Maya as standard but the ant pile shot required more complicated dynamic simulations, which was taken care of with pFlow in 3ds Max. The rest of the ant flocking animation was made using nParticles, curve flow and instanced geometry with walk cycles in Maya. We rendered using V-Ray in Maya and used the Foundry’s Nuke to composite, then added Video Copilot optical flares for some finishing touches.
The most demanding technical aspect of this project surrounded the scale of the piece. Starting in macro before pulling out and reveal the enormity of the swarm, thousands of ants, all working together. This was achieved using a V-Ray proxy/Maya particle combo.
The proxies in V-Ray allow a huge number of objects to be in a scene, whilst only displaying a fraction of the faces actually present. This makes moving around the viewport and generally working with the scene bearable, without which it would be chug central. Our workflow involved a generic walk-cycle instanced as a V-Ray proxy in the particle system with tweaks to the movement so the pace of the ant matched the cyclet. We used the same technique for the cogs in the logo, which was modelled then converted after animation and reimported into the scene as a proxy.
DESIGN / ANIMATION / DIRECTION / PRODUCTION
PRODUCTION COMPANY: JOYRIDER
DIRECTOR: FOUND COLLECTIVE
Creating a track containing the most iconic curves of the six most famous F1 tracks was fun, albeit brief, we had just seven days to turn this project around!
A real test for our VFX pipeline we had to be innovative in the way we worked. Simple geometry of the track and buildings were created in Maya and transferred to Nuke where the texturing was achieved with camera projection. It soon became apparent that hand animating the reveal wasn't practical in the time so we devised a tool for procedural animation relative to the camera's distance. Due to the amount of geometry required we also wrote a script that 'turned off' any geometry when it was not visible in camera. This approach gave us the opportunity to light the night section entirely in Nuke.
To maintain the resolution at close quarters some of the texture maps were 12k. We began the job while nuke was still 32bit but our friends at the Foundry hooked us up with an early BETA of nuke 64bit which made the project possible and run extremely quickly.
CLIENT: Sony Pictures TV
DESIGN / DIRECTION: Mainframe
Mainframe were drafted in by Sony Pictures to work closely with them on the launch of their new channel True Crime. Smashing glass was the brief, but incredibly realistic and detailed smashed glass was requested and that’s what we gave them. Flexible templates were created allowing different footage to be inserted into the faces of the glass.