I think it was back around the summer of 2005 when Psyop first posted a three-spot series for Infiniti in which cars motored through majestically unfolding watercolor landscapes. They’ve kept that spirit alive with a new holiday-themed series that leans more on cloth simulation than paint effects.
Like the original series, the transitions from scene to scene are silky smooth. The whole thing feels like an opium dream tinged in holiday cheer.
Some technical details from the release:
In this case, MassMarket utilized the “Photo-Bubble” during principal photography, which allowed the team to shoot real cars and driving action while limiting environmental reflections in the cars. to remove all reflections from the shot cars. Then art directed reflections were placed back in during compositing, by tracking CG models of the corresponding car, and using them as reflection objects during render.
CG models of the actual shot cars allowed MassMarket to do things like spinning wheels on stationary cars, as well as photogrammetry for augmented camera moves which allowed maximum flexibility when incorporating the live action plates into the breathtaking transitions.
Softimage’s XSI, was utilized for its Mental Ray rendering, and general production for the project. Autodesk’s Maya was used for cloth simulation, and snow creation. Pre-comps for visualization were handled in Adobe After Effects and Eyeon’s Digital Fusion. Final Compositing was onlined with Autodesk’s Flame.
The line between Psyop and its sister company MassMarket is sublimely blurred in these spots. I can’t decide where the design begins and the technical wizardry ends. Therein lies one of Psyop’s chief strengthsâ€”and the reason I admire their work so much.