Making of Kia Hamster Bringing Down the House by Method Studios
Method’s in-house CG team built upon the hamster setup created for ‘Share Some Soul’ and advanced the models using the latest state-of-the-art fur rendering techniques. According to Boyd, “The lighting in this spot is so much more complex and specific. We had to push our fur rendering techniques to new levels.”
Lighting Lead Brian Burke notes, “We added a physically-based translucency model which gave the fur greater volumetric qualities. We also wanted to make their eyes more expressive, so instead of rendering black spheres we modeled lenses and irises for each character to help bring them to life.”
Mixing CGI with Live Action
Method Head of 2D Patrick Ferguson led a team of Nuke artists to integrate the CG hamster renders with the practical dancer’s bodies, creating a seamless blend of CG and costuming. “We took the blending of the character components a step further this year by modeling clothing geometry that was match moved to the dancers. This made the light play and shadows feel more physical,” says Ferguson. “We also created a special gradient pass that enabled us to pick any area of fine hair on the hamster’s necks and layer it on top of the collars. This approach went a long way in terms of adding realism to the characters.”
Method Studios linked in through its seamless pipeline with sister facility Company 3 to allow Company 3 co-founder/colorist Stefan Sonnenfeld to perform the color grading for the spot as he had on the previous campaign.
Adweek recently cited the 2011 Kia ‘Share Some Soul’ spot as one of the top twenty most-watched advertisements in YouTube history and Method and David & Goliath hope to continue its massive popularity with this new installment of inspired hamster lunacy. “People love these hamsters. And we love working with them,” comments VFX Producer Mike Wigart, “We’re still waiting for our friends at D&G to pitch us the movie.”
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