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.
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!