On set for the Marie’s Dressing shoot! image

On set for the Marie’s Dressing shoot!21/03/14

Here at TJ, Producers are responsible for a project throughout its life in the studio, from pre-production to final delivery. Every production has its ups and downs and the Producer’s ensure every project stays on track, whilst being a solid rock for the client to guarantee a smooth and stress-free creative journey from brief to final delivery.

Zsuzsanna, our lovely Hungarian Producer, reveals all about her time producing our recent print and digital campaign for Marie’s Dressing…

“Ad agency, HW&H approached Taylor James to help with their product launch for Marie’s Dressing. A multi-platform campaign needed to launch their new products, which feature 6 different salad dressings. We had just one week to plan a two day shoot which would capture the material we would need to produce both still imagery and then motion aspects of the campaign. So we had to start sourcing the right props listed in their brief immediately – which is how a fellow producer and I ended up hiring a van and zipping down to Brighton to pick up some authentic old crates for the shoot!

Once we had all the props, we could start arranging them for the shoot and to best represent each product. As you can see in the Behind the Scenes video, this included matching which crate was to be our ‘Hero’ crate and which product (dressing) should go with what selection of vegetables. Luckily, the agency supplied us with a complete vegetable guide showing which had to go with each of the dressings. We shot 6 different Marie’s Dressings – Chunky Blue Cheese, Creamy Ranch, Coleslaw, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Basil pesto Vinaigrette and Raspberry Vinaigrette – each in various crate locations.

We captured the stills and the live action at Lock Studios, who were very accommodating and helpful. Our eagle eyed Cinematographer and Editor managed to capture the whole shoot and create two Behind the Scenes movies from the shadows which you can see on the project page.

On set, our food stylist, Emily, did an amazing job organising all the veggies in the crates. I never thought that organising leaves and carrots could be such an art, but watching her work you can see she definitely takes pride in what she does and it is a complicated job! She had a spray with her all times and sprayed oil on the vegetables frequently, so they didn’t evaporate under the hot studio light, keeping the vegetables looking fresh at all times.

The second shoot day was dedicated to the motion part of the campaign, which you can now see online. We glued tracking markers to all the crates, so we can remove the front and replace it with the illustrations that HW&H provided. We had a very strict timeframe in terms of how quickly we had to stack the crates in frame. It definitely took some organising and a few takes to get precisely what we envisaged. Stacking crates and placing bottles is not as easy as it looks when you want it to look natural and effortless – the bottle and the vegetables kept wobbling where we placed them!

HW&H is a nice little family-oriented business in Santa Monica, USA and we couldn’t have asked for a better client. They were open to our suggestions and we always got prompt clear feedback. They were unable to fly over and attend the shoot in London, so we allocated ‘Skype time’ (waiting until dawn on West Coast USA, 8 hours behind London time) on the shoot when we could share progress and explain how we envisioned moving forward. With our Retoucher on set, all the selects and rough compositions were sent over so that we could easily review work with the client and had the opportunity to adapt the art direction during the shoot.

We had a fun and very successful shoot, and we were able to have a great (healthy) feast of leftover fresh veggies at wrap! Back at the studio and on track to deliver the work on schedule, we moved onto the next task of comping together the branding artwork with the footage, bedding in the text with the crates to give a look that you wouldn’t question.

When I look back at this project, I feel like everything was at the right place: Amazing crew and team with a great client on board, there was no question that this project would be a great success. We have created 3 Hero prints and 3 different format banner ads each with text adaptations, and while we’re crunching on our carrots, we have a very happy client and agency indeed. What’s not to like about being a producer? Every day is different and that’s why I love it! Zs x”

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Vertu Constellation – Creating An Extraordinary World image

Vertu Constellation – Creating An Extraordinary World03/02/14

This multi-platform production got us into a magical mood in the studio. We’ve been working with Vertu, world leading luxury mobile phone brand, on their latest cross-platform campaign for the launch of the Constellation range. TJ were fortunate to work closely with the brand, sharing both the Made in England heritage and core business values of premium, artisan quality.

We worked with the brand, its agencies and fashion photographer, Kristian Schuller, on the cross-media campaign to launch the impressively smart phone. With a seamless combination of photography, CGI and VFX, the vibrant global campaign, playing on Vertu’s English heritage, launched across digital and print media ahead of the Christmas present buying season.

The ‘Vertu Extraordinary’ campaign is the brainchild of CHI & Partners, appointed by Vertu as its lead creative agency in July 2013. With magazine spreads in the luxury and lifestyle press ahead of Christmas, Vertu’s lead digital agency, AKQA, created a microsite and social media content. TJ worked closely with Vertu and both agencies to guarantee a truly integrated campaign.

Planning the print and digital executions in harmony, the CGI elements including the product and butterflies were mapped out in advance to enable to renowned photographer Kristian Schuller to be creative on set, in full knowledge of the technical requirements. TJ Technical Director, David Wortley, provided VFX supervision on the three majestic sets; handling the pre-visualisation, tracking and advising on set assembly. Once the environments were shot, the award-winning studio was then able to integrate the phones, add the effects and control the post-production in-house.

Each Constellation smartphone is built from fine materials, handmade in England by a single craftsman. The luxurious calf leather selected for its feel and natural grain, the polarizing sapphire crystal screen and titanium case were all reproduced in CGI by TJ to exacting details.

“Supplied with CAD data, we created a 3D model that includes the subtleties of manufacturing and handcrafting that make a product look authentic.” David Wortley, TJ’ Technical Director, explains. “Creating the hand stitched calf leather, grade 5 titanium and sapphire crystal, this 3D model is indistinguishable from the real thing. It is used across all media so we had to develop the virtual materials at extremely high levels of detail and to large resolutions to ensure the quality is maintained close up.” The smartphone looks immaculate within the three larger than life fantasy tales across the campaign, from print, digital, interactive and in-store and across the microsite.

The subtleties of the motion elements bring the print layouts to life on screen, a strong example of premium integrated campaign design, without the need for gimmicks. ‘Extraordinary Craftsmanship’ is set in a couture factory. A lady inspired by the couture house is sitting on the sewing machine, with butterflies flying from the machine onto the larger than life dress worn by a cat. Wortley continues, “We built CGI butterflies to flutter around the dress and added animation to create movement, depth and realism. Repurposing the core 3D phone asset we built for the stills also enabled us to easily animate these elements for the digital executions of the campaign.”

Another of Schuller’s visions is a masculine, powerful rhino sitting on his motorbike. He is an eccentric character, sitting in the stately home. VFX such as the smoke were added to the motion version of this image, maximising the use of assets to support Vertu’s brand identity and key messaging.

The campaign is a striking example of how CGI and traditional photography can work hand-in-hand to deliver highly creative multi-platform campaigns and how one studio can help agencies and brands come together on this exemplary cross-platform campaign.

Check out our work here, and Vertu’s dedicated microsite.

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What’s the story, Crackanory? image

What’s the story, Crackanory?05/11/13

Once upon a time back when we were small, innocent and full of wonder, there was nothing quite like a good bedtime story…and it’s the TJ team who have been busy working on the latest UKTV’s campaign for new TV series “Crackanory”.

Based on story time for adults, England’s favourite comedy stars read weird and wonderful tales for this humorous campaign. Taylor James supplied both photography and retouch from our in-house crew and we’re chuckling at the result.

Collaborating with advertising agency Mother, London, we were able to bring the vision to life with a packed studio shoot alongside our favourite crew members.

Our newest TJ Producer, Heather Woodburn, handled this project including full shoot production and managing the creative aspect alongside the agency. See what she has to say about it…

“It’s great to be able to produce a project completely in-house, from the photographer, retouch and creative lead to general shoot production. Working with our trusted team makes the shoot day a whole lot easier!

We use a lot of calculations in our work to ensure realistic angles and continuity, so we had our Technical Director on board armed with his laser measurer and it was all systems go! From the height of the tripod and lens to where each needed seated – which was a task in itself – everything is done to the millimetre.

Being able to offer our client the in-house facilities gave them peace of mind that someone else can handle the huge amount of work that goes into a shoot and also the reassurance that we know what’s needed to aid the post-production process. Being able to have our client in the studio for immediate feedback and it was fascinating watching our retouchers mask items, bed them in and see the final product after a busy few weeks. It was overall a lovely campaign that I loved spotting on television and on billboards.”

Crackanory hits UK TV screens on Wednesday 13 November at 10pm on Dave. See the full project HERE.

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Hitting a Brick Wall? Come into our CGI Surgery! image

Hitting a Brick Wall? Come into our CGI Surgery!04/10/13

We were thrilled to see the guys at agency GSW Worldwide brought our CGI brickwall man to life for a healthcare conference in which the healthcare professionals gathered from all over the world.

See the full project and Behind the Scenes of how we made it.

We’re proud to say the campaign also got to the finalist at the MM&M Awards!

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#MustBeTheHoney image


Our latest collaboration with agency Saatchi & Saatchi NY has left us humming along to the catchy tune of ‘Must Be The Honey’, the theme song at the heart of the latest campaign launch for Honey Nut Cheerios which went viral earlier this month.

The director behind the music video style TV commercials is famous hip hop genius Hype Williams and his production company HSI, who brought on board the ever sensational rapper Nelly. The opening video remixes Nelly’s 2001 hit ‘Ride with me’ with alternative lyrics relating to honey, whilst he gives the iconic Honey Nut Cheerios mascot- Buzz the Bee- a swagtastic makeover. Nelly said in a statement “I’ve worked with some very talented artists and thought ‘I think it’s about time I work with the Bee’”.

Taylor James produced the following 3x 30sec spots and 3x 15sec cut-downs where ‘Buzz’ brightens up numerous peoples breakfasts with his very own music video. The 6-week design and animation process, which went through 5 different phases of concept exploration and included a 4 day shoot in Buenos Aires, saw TJ NY run the complete production pipeline and provide project VFX supervision. Our creative allies Laika in Portland stepped on board to lead all of ‘Buzz’s’ character animations, and Beast NY handled the editing. See Behind The Scenes here!

The key to this multi-focused project was a creative and streamlined production flow, where strategic common asset sharing was implemented to run multiple deliveries simultaneously, ensuring great flexibility and cohesive styling across the whole of the campaign.

#MustBeTheHoney is another successful cross-media campaign delivered by our fast growing New York office. Our flexible approach to cost effective asset integration has previously led to our creative input on campaigns for brands like: American Express, Coors, Colgate, American Heart Association and others, which have allowed us build a solid expertise of the US consumer market and global industry trends.

This project was a truly enjoyable and fun concept that brought new personality to a well-established brand. People can now join Buzz the Bee at www.mustbethehoney.com and post images or comments about their own “must be the honey” moments directly from Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr by tagging #MustBeTheHoney.

Go on – spread some honey!

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Lip-smacking New Print Ad for McDonald’s image

Lip-smacking New Print Ad for McDonald’s03/09/13

All we can say with our latest print ad for McDonald’s is make sure you’re hungry! Global market-leaders of the fast food phenomenon open their golden arches to introduce the newest addition to their long list of mouth watering burgers, the ‘Clubhouse’.

We were delighted when we were approached by DDB Chicago (frequent visionaries of various McDonald’s campaigns) to create an image for the no.1 fast food chain’s latest product launch. The agency supplied us with a layout of the new burger so we could reference the exact food layering and capture the essence of the smiley, lip-smacking burgers “face” whilst shooting the bacon in our London photo studio.

Getting a rasher of bacon to mimic a tongue was a challenge – but with our expert in house photographers shooting every angle and consistency, we were able to imitate this perfectly. Making for very happy and impressed clients, which is always our main aim.
Our crafty Retoucher’s tidied the burger up in post production and created the background and overall colour grade, which was essential to the McDonald’s brand image. The tagline “lip-smackingly delicious” was added on for the final image. Check it out here.

In light of recent concerns over ingredients, this new product aims to reassure consumers of the quality of their food by using high-quality, 100% pure beef. The simplicity and understated element of this print says all we need to know about the product, capturing the essential nature of what is being advertised; a good quality, 100% beef burger.

The advert is sponsored by Florida International University and is being promoted throughout Miami, within consumer publications, direct mail and out of home advertising for one month due to its limited availability. Get it while you can Florida friends – and save us some will ya?

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Cross-Platform ad campaign – new product launch for Mizuno image

Cross-Platform ad campaign – new product launch for Mizuno24/07/13

We are thrilled to reveal our production for the latest range of Mizuno trainers (or sneakers to you Statesider’s) for their European launch of the Autumn/Winter ’13 collection.

Using a combination of CGI and photography we gave our own creative spin on these images for the eclectic new range of sportswear which demonstrates the broad functionality of the new designs. The main goal was to visualise the performance you will experience from wearing the trainers, from versatile lightness, explosive agility and shock-absorbing comfort.

The final series of ads are striking visual examples of how photo-realistic CGI can exemplify any brand and product to the most specific detail. The campaign is running across multiple platforms, and can be seen online on the Mizuno website and on Facebook, and also major print distributions throughout Europe.

See the full range of footwear here and how we created them!

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Disney Lilly Interactive WINS in Global Awards & The RX Club Awards image

Disney Lilly Interactive WINS in Global Awards & The RX Club Awards24/07/13

We are very proud to announce that our integrated production for ‘Disney Lilly Diabetes’ won a Finalist Certificate for best ‘Interactive Environments’ for the USA arm of The Global Awards 2012!

Winner in the category of ‘Communication to the Healthcare Professional: Video, Audio, Interactive Media’, the charming interactive animation was a touch-screen HD piece especially for children suffering from diabetes; to educate them and their parents on how to deal with the disease.

The piece also picked up a SILVER in the RX Club Awards in Interactive ‘Best Animation’ category!

Working with pharmaceutical agency GSW, we took this charming interactive animation from concept and ideas to real life in 3D and supplied the video for the client to use in conferences and fairs to demonstrate how their treatment can help children, and to engage healthcare professionals.

See here for the full project and get an insight into the behind the scenes!

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New Fizzing Imagery for new Red Bull ‘Cola’ image

New Fizzing Imagery for new Red Bull ‘Cola’17/06/13

This refreshing and beautiful ad for the new ‘Cola’ from ever-expanding energy drinks brand Red Bull, is a delightful mix of Taylor James photography and top-notch retouch.

We worked directly with the imaginative wizards at Red Bull Creative, who give us wings (to get us through long shoot days), and photographed and retouched a series of images for the global launch of this new product, the first of which is not an energy drink but made from 100% natural sources.

With a very specific brief to demonstrate the fruity, natural taste of the product but with the kick and boost you expect from Red Bull, we captured the liquid as it sprayed from the can and enhanced this with various other liquid photography of the drink. The retouch team added that necessary sparkle and colour style in for this final fizzy look.

TJ has expanded rapidly over the 14 years since the company was founded in 1999, to encompass CGI animation & live-action for broadcast. With an office in New York now helping to build on our existing relationships in the states we are developing more and more, however we will always continue to be true to our retouching roots and love to get stuck into photographic retouching to create beautiful imagery like this, for global brands and clients.

See the final image up close here. This ad can be spotted around Europe, promoting the refreshing and fruity drink.

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TJ Baking with Billington’s – Gingerbread Man image

TJ Baking with Billington’s – Gingerbread Man07/05/13

The joy of being a creative is that each new project presents a fresh challenge and the opportunity to learn something new and often unexpected: in this case…“baking”. Our challenge was to create a high resolution close-up of a gingerbread man – enjoying a nibble on his own exceptionally delicious arm.

The client understandably required creative adjustability throughout the process – so simply reaching for the oven gloves and baking our ginger hero (whilst popping out for a swift half) was not an option. However, we did end up doing a little baking as part of our realisation – an unusual step in the CGI pipeline!

The first task was to address the broad design & layout; how big should the character be relative to the plate, what kind of plate? How does this sit within the frame as a whole? How can we capture our gingerbread man’s all important expression of “cheeky delight”? Do we need eyebrows to achieve this? How long do his arms have to be for him to nibble on his own hand? Does he have shoes, how many buttons and, most importantly, is he wearing a bow tie? These questions were explored with concept drawings and a simplified (easily adjustable) CG model until our client was really happy.

Creatively, a clear “read” on the hand being nibbled was vital. To achieve this we placed our key light to the left, allowing the shadow of the nibbled arm to fall across the character’s own chest to ensure the two are clearly separated. To enhance the realism we lit the scene with great care – essentially placing the plate and gingerbread man on a table within a “virtual kitchen”, with appropriate walls and features and a window, a key light source, to the left. The CG model of our character was now highly refined and a surface texture was progressed to a good level using painted and procedural textures. However, replicating the fine fissures and structure of the gingerbread surface from scratch was a challenge – we really needed some material. Existing gingerbread “textures” for sale proved hard to come by, so at last we would have to make a mess and get baking!

Our found photographic reference (i.e. lots of pictures of gingerbread men) illustrated the great many varieties of gingerbread: from the surprisingly smooth and pristine, to the rugged and crumbly. With our client we identified an ideal surface…and the goal was then to match this through experimentation in the oven. This resulted in a considerable amount of gingerbread in the studio and a note reading “do not eat our reference” (which was entirely ignored).
Eventually we found the right recipe and baked a great deal of gingerbread: not only gingerbread men – providing photographic material for the edges, nooks and crannies…but also larger flat sheets of gingerbread to handle the surface of the character (this was photographed with lighting to match our CG scene – this way even the shadows of tiny crumbs would fall in the correct direction.

Our retouch department then worked this material on top of our base CG surface where required. All the icing elements (and smarties) were entirely CG allowing us exacting control of their design and placement (sub-surface-scattering was used to achieve the translucent quality in the icing). Even the table cloth went through the CG process – so that the relief of the weave would respect the broader lighting of the scene and the shadow of the plate upon the cloth would be as convincing as possible.

Our client was delighted with the result..and we certainly enjoyed baking…er….I mean “making” it. To see the final result, click here.

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We’ve gone a bit nutty… For California Almonds image

We’ve gone a bit nutty… For California Almonds10/01/13

We were thrilled to collaborate with renowned food photographer Adam Levey for this project for California Almonds! And when the outcome is met with a delighted…

“These images are so beautiful I hope we can find a way for everyone to see them!! They are by far some of the most amazing images we have ever created for the Almond Board.” Alicia Potter, Senior Art Director, Stirling-Rice Group.

… There is always a buzz throughout the studios, content in the fact that we have once again surpassed our valued clients expectations and delivered the exact desired result. Levey came to us to work on Sterling Rice Group’s latest and greatest campaign for the Almond Board to produce the vibrant, delicious variations of California Almonds. We combined Levey’s talented photography with CGI and added the essential sparkle in post-production. The ads are running in trade publications for commercial chefs who create cereals, snacks, chocolate bars, etc. For example, Kellogg’s. Purchased the latest Creative Review? You will spot the stunning ad there too!

See the whole campaign HERE! Let us know what you think on FACEBOOK and TWITTER! Check out Sharpe & Associates for more of ADAM LEVEY’S beautiful photography.

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Colgate Commercial Hits TV Screens! image

Colgate Commercial Hits TV Screens!04/01/13

Whiter than white, brighter than bright. Funnily enough this latest TV spot for Colgate’s new advanced electric toothbrush, produced by TJ from concept to delivery, takes a different spin on the usual “look at my sparkling white teeth” and features a hard boiled egg! Intrigued? Read on…

The star of the show, ahem- The Egg- landed the leading role due to its tough outer shell and soft insides, which is used in the commercial to demonstrate a tooth. The point of which, is that different surfaces of your teeth need to be cleaned in different ways. Which the unique technology of the Pro Clinical A1500 can do with sensors which put the brush into auto-pilot! Adjusting automatically in both speed and action as you move the brush around your mouth.

We were thrilled to be involved in such a creative and unique brief and after the pre-production which included gathering creatively accurate references, story-boarding and collating mood boards, we headed over to our neighbours at Shoreditch Studios to shoot the humble egg on green screen. With our lovely hand model and a lot of eggs we captured the film of a hand reaching to remove the top of the eggs shell to revealing the white inside. We integrated this live-action with expert photo-real CGI for the toothbrush and the environment back in the London studio, to reveal this 30 second TVC.

For the full campaign see our project page here, which includes an exclusive interactive video we created from the digital assets, so you can view the toothbrush at your own leisure. And check out our BEHIND THE SCENES for the making of!

Also see the final TV spot action on the Colgate website commercial, on Facebook web banners and on primetime TV throughout the UK & USA.

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Urban Angel peddles us into 2013 image

Urban Angel peddles us into 201313/12/12

The TJ team love to get down and creative with a personal project, especially when when it combines cinemagraphic motion and large scale stills. The integrated 2012-13 winter campaign seamlessly blends our own live-action, photography, CGI and creative retouching – and BMA Model’s kind support with a fantastic model – for a truly magical experience that everyone could be part of.
Created at our London Studio from concept to dazzling Cinemagraph, you can explore the depth and detail of the high-quality image interactively here as well as view the cinemagraphs and take a peak behind the scenes of the production.
View the Campaign: Urban Angel

The multiple assets in this Urban Angel series can run across print, from magazine to billboard, interactive and digital.
Cinemagraphs are rising in popularity as a way of adding elements of repeated motion to a ‘photograph’, allowing the viewer to become immersed in a moment in time, whilst maintaining manageable file sizes necessitated by many digital advertising platforms. This method can bring subtle life to imagery and be a cornerstone of truly integrated marketing.

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How Very British… ‘Something Missing’ Poppy Appeal image

How Very British… ‘Something Missing’ Poppy Appeal29/10/12

At TJ, we like to honour our British roots, particularly in 2012, with historic moments including the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics getting us into the patriotic spirit as you may have seen in our Summer newsletter & social media. We did our bit for the Olympics with the creation of the Heart campaign for games sponsor BP, and are now honoured to be part of the next defining National occasion – the annual Poppy Appeal for Remembrance Sunday.

The Royal British Legion has launched the 2012 Poppy Appeal with an innovative outdoor campaign to raise awareness for Remembrance Day on November 11th. The billboard and poster images, featuring everyday scenes from our working lives such as the tube and suits, are featured in tube and railway stations around the capital, with the tagline ‘Something Missing?’.

The Royal British Legion is the UK’s leading Armed Forces charity, providing emotional and financial support to former and current members of the armed forces and their families. One of the main events that they run is the Poppy Appeal, the poppy being the symbol of Remembrance Sunday, representing those who have lost their lives in honour of their country. In the running up to Remembrance Sunday, lapel poppies are adorned by many of the public, with the image of the poppy strongly linked with the charity itself.

Each image features a cut out of a poppy revealing several different backdrops behind the poster, such as the cables along the underground. Working with agency CST The Gate, we created the three ads to remind people to pick up their poppies for the good cause. Our in-house photographer shot the material needed around London, and the rest was created in CGI and brought together seamlessly in post.

Upload your snap to Facebook if you spot the campaign on your travels around the capital, and tag TaylorJamesLtd.

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Statoil – Extracting Oil image

Statoil – Extracting Oil21/09/12

We recently launched this striking print campaign for energy firm, Statoil. Commissioned by McCann Oslo, we joined forces with photographer Andy Glass to create three distinctive multi-disciplined images to illustrate the unique oil and gas extraction methods used by the global organisation. You may have spotted it about the CGI community, notably in CG Arena, Ever Motion and many Advertising sites such as Advertolog and Coloribus! Read more…

The photography and CGI-integrated campaign, consisting of three double page spreads, shows Statoil’s principle procedures of extraction in land and sea. The photorealistic juxtaposition of the complex on-site machinery and environment with calm and clean workspaces was a vital requirement for the client, and is a niche skill we renowned for.

Agency, McCann Oslo, approached Andy Glass and TJ to match their flawless techniques on this production for their trusted client Statoil. Impossible to create in the real world, CGI was used to create the models of the environments within tanks, combined with Glass’ photography of the sea surface, oilrig and overhead shots of the energy sites. The ground and sea blocks accurately represent the geographic layers of Statoil’s real life extraction sites. This complex composition was then brought together by our skilled retouchers, paying attention to the finest details and required integration.

Eric, Global Executive Director at McCann Oslo, states “It has been an absolute pleasure working with Taylor James, and the work is world class!”.

See the Statoil project page to see the complete campaign and a full insight behind the scenes of the production!

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Building a Kangaroo from scratch image

Building a Kangaroo from scratch16/08/12

We were off to a hopping start as we teamed up with DDB Chicago to create this realistic kangaroo for Emerson’s latest ad. The furry little thing was built from scratch entirely in CGI, requiring incredible focus and creativity to ensure the most lifelike form and mannerisms. By the end of it, our CG artists felt like they’d been to the Australian outback!….. Well, not quite. But they definitely hit the spot when it comes to mirroring the real thing with just computer generated imagery and photo references.

The initial challenge was to ensure we could match the photo-real level the agency came to TJ specifically for, within the budget and timeframe given. We came up with the best production pipeline to enable us to hit our renowned level of excellence in image quality, and keep well within the specifications of the brief.

So how did we do it…

The kangaroo was created using Zbrush, a digital sculpting tool that combines 3D/2.5D for modeling, texturing and painting. An eye for realism, creativity and focus are essential skills when using this tool, to make sure the delicate anatomical forms such as muscle tissue, facial and paw detail were meticulously sculpted in.

Senior CGI Artist, Roy Stein, explains; “Initially the model is sculpted into a generic standing pose, layering in Zbrush is then used to find strong dynamic posing for the final image, whilst maintaining the original “T” pose underneath for the next phases of unwrapping, texturing and grooming of fur. Texture was painted directly onto the model, and drove the various colour patterns of the coat, which was created using HairFarm.”

The biggest test was making sure the final look was as natural as a wild kangaroo’s fur would look in real life. Roy adds “The fur texture was groomed using more than 20 bespoke texture maps to create the challenging look of realistic fur, with each texture applying a specific attribute, such as curliness and thickness, to specific areas of the animal”.

We’re very happy with the final result, and are proud to say the client were over the moon!

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We met Spider Man! On set of LA Sony shoot… image

We met Spider Man! On set of LA Sony shoot…30/07/12

So, we met Spider Man. No biggy (ahem). What we were most excited about though (really) was the vastness of the set for the new Sony Xperia Ion TV commercial. TJ’s first task for this cross-media campaign was to shoot alongside the TVC filming, capturing the best photographic material required to create the interactive feature for the website launch. And who wouldn’t want the chance to spy around Fox Studios in Los Angeles?

We were approached by LBi to produce this huge composition for Sony, to form part of an interactive website for the launch of their new ‘Xperia Ion’. A team from our London and NYC studios went over to do the shoot alonside the filming of the TV commercial at Fox Studios in LA.

The brief was to produce a huge street scenes and populate it with hints from popular movies, music and video games. These hints form part of an interactive hide and seek game for users of the Sony website. This was a complete Taylor James production, combining photography both shot on-location and in our studio, with CGI and model-making. Complex creative retouch was necessary to build this multi-part comp to the scale and flexibility required to zoom into the image at high levels of detail.

With just 3 weeks from kick-off to delivery, we pulled out all the stops to launch in time for the release of ‘The Amazing Spider Man’ movie in cinemas!

For Behind the Scenes footage, out-takes and the large interactive image, see here. And see our Facebook page for even more pictures on-set!

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Real or Fake? image

Real or Fake?13/06/12

The question of whether imagery we see today is fake or real is unavoidable: from action-packed blockbuster movies to print and motion advertising, to everyday images we come across on the web.

Print images transfer to animation for TV campaigns, a celebrity ‘snapped’ on the beach is photoshopped to death for a glossy magazine. There was recent speculation following a viral video of one man who built a set of wings and soared in the sky like a bird, raising questions amongst CGI professionals who noted how “there is no continuous video from take-off to landing, instead they cut away the main ground camera right as he takes off and cut back right before he lands.”

With images reaching photoreal levels of quality, we sometimes don’t even think to consider whether the picture is of something that exists in reality or if it was computer generated. Our recent campaign for arthritis treatment drug SIMPONI, comprising a mix of photography, live-action and CGI is one such example. Can you tell which objects have been filmed in our studio and which are created in CGI?

Computer generated imagery and photography are at a juxtaposition. While photographers clean up their images, making them look more like renderings, 3D artists are adding blemishes, dirt, scratches and developing tools like subsurface scattering to make their renderings look more like snapshots. Photographers are fighting to remove noise, CGI artists are adding it; photographers are using digital techniques like focus stacking to extend depth of field, while CGI artists begin with unlimited depth of field and artificially reduce it.

Spielberg recently mused that “audiences are so used to digital enhancements or replacements that they don’t trust cinema anymore. They see a movie and… if something beautiful strikes them emotionally, or in a beautiful way, they say ‘That was faked’ or ‘They did that later on the computer’.” He defended his latest epic film, War Horse, saying “we had three days of amazing sunsets, and we actually took advantage of those. There is no sky replacement.”

For our project for SIMPONI, a mixture of techniques were used, including filming objects in our studio for the 2:30m teaser and replicating these objects in CGI for cross-platform deliverables. This afforded the client and agency the control and flexibility they were after. With the full compliment of technical and creative skills, plus live-action and photography studio, in-house, TJ was able to seamlessly blend approaches for a cohesive integrated campaign where the technique is secondary.

What do you think, can you tell which elements are CGI and which are real? Share your comments on Facebook or Twitter

And if you want to see the flying man… CGI Experts on Flying Bird Man

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In the news… Pegasus & Ad of the Day for Dow image

In the news… Pegasus & Ad of the Day for Dow26/03/12

We do love it when our hard work and around the clock persistence to get things just perfect gets noticed and brilliantly covered in great publications. Such as our recent hits in 3D World, CG Arena and AdWeek…

Check out the feature for the making of Pegasus in 3D World here, and CG Arena have broken down what we did and how we did it alongside the step by step images too - see here! Plus an insider interview!

We are also very proud to see that Dow got ‘Ad of the Day’ last week in AdWeek following the ‘Solutionism’ campaign ad’s. The main focus being the new environmentally friendly ‘quiet’ train alongside the various beautiful images we created for the global solutions company. Read the feature here!

See our projects here:
Pegasus and Dow

Thanks guys!

Note to Editors: If you are keen to find out more about any of our projects for any features or advertising, please contact Laura Frost at [email protected]

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TJ create a fantastical Pegasus! image

TJ create a fantastical Pegasus!28/02/12

Global telecom solutions provider Huawei launch their new phone ‘Ascend’, using a striking Pegasus as their distinctive brand image. The Pegasus, representing the speed and power of the new quad core smart phone was built from thousands of the same model of the phone which is argued as the “world’s fastest phone”. A controversial statement there. Very controversial. But we’ll ‘ave it for now! Purely because we enjoyed building this elegantly detailed fantastical horse.

We built the 3D image using thousands of tiny computer generated models of the phone, for their huge print campaign which reached customers all over the world at the industry’s largest annual event; Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona. Find out how we did it…

We were approached to create the stunning design of a powerful, fantastical horse to look as though it was made out of thousands of phones, for the huge launch of the new generation of smartphone by Huawei. Another piece of design imagery we are quite proud to be a part of, following the recent success of the beautiful CGI design work designed for the Sunday Times anniversary cover!

The symbolic winged horse is famed for representing speed and freedom which is why Huawei chose it as the central theme for the launch of the new phone ‘Ascend’, the “world’s fastest phone”. Each phone was built entirely in CGI (computer generated imagery), astonishing consumers and figures in advertising agencies all over the world as they observed the photo-realistic images at the Mobile World Congress last week.

So how did we do it?

The Huawei Ascend project came into us as a quick turn-around job and there wasn’t much time to nail the concept and visualise this stunning design. Luckily for us the client had a clear direction for the pose and camera position of the Pegasus, so we were able to match it quite quickly and get on with designing the intricate process of placing phones across the body and wings of the Pegasus.

We had to model the phone from a physical model as we had no CAD data, so we scanned it for accuracy then expertly modelled it to make it smooth, accurate and optimised enough that rendering 2000+ of them wouldn’t be an issue. We modelled details including the camera inners with lens and USB port as these are the small details which if modelled help pick up subtle lighting differences and detail that doing by texture wouldn’t give.
We’ve done a lot of jobs where something large is made up of many small items, so we have procedures and processes designed to help speed this up.

Dave Wortley, Lead Technical CGI Artist at Taylor James, says “The placement was extremely important, to help emphasize the shape and form of the body, and design a complex wing structure which felt light yet solid. A combination of in-house tools as well as manual placing and adjustment was used to ensure there were no phones overlapping or interpenetrating which turned into quite a bit of a jigsaw puzzle!”

Once the Phone had been modelled and positions specified, we swapped out the proxy low-res phone models, switched to our high resolution 20,000 poly version, which with over 2000 phones making up the structure of the Pegasus, meant we had over 40 million polygons in the scene, which as we were rendering at a large 8k resolution, meant we could see lots of detail close-up.

The next challenge was lighting, trying to get a smooth rim-lit look with such a facetted shape we encountered issues straight away with the falloff from lights not being smooth across the model because of the angular nature of the geometry. We created a complex light rig involving curved lights to light small parts of the Pegasus with different lights and then at the rendering stage we rendered multiple versions of lighting setups which allowed our Retouchers to paint in extra lighting and reflection where they felt it was necessary to get a nice result.

Why CGI?

Its projects like this which would be almost impossible without CGI, the lighting was so complex that there is no way it could have been done in a studio with Photography. Taylor James ensure they invest time heavily at the start of projects like this, modelling accurately and preparing it for good detail levels so we can re-use the original phone asset and render an individual phone at high resolution for further product shots.

This is highly valuable as advertising campaigns are more and more integrated across digital, print and motion platforms. See the project page for more images!

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