Huawei - Pegasus Ascend

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We were approached to build this beautiful winged horse made up of thousands of one model of mobile phone, for the global telecom solutions company Huawei. The print image was displayed throughout the world’s largest cellphone event, Mobile World Congress.

The phone was designed and built from scratch, ensuring that the way they were structured together really emphasized the body shape and form of the horse. The final print ads were shown around the UK and an actual statue of the horse was built to accompany the campaign in Barcelona!

Concept

Pre-Vis

CGI

Photography

animation

Post-Production

Concept

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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. 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”.

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.

CGI Production

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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 so 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 help pick up subtle lighting differences and detail when modelling, that doing by texture wouldn’t give.
We have done many jobs where many small items make up a large object, so we have procedures and processes designed to speed this up.

Once we had modelled and specified the the phones positions, 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! As we were rendering at 8k resolution, this meant we could see every 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 allowing our retoucher’s to paint in extra lighting and reflection where they felt it was necessary to get a nice result.

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Results

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We ensure we invest time heavily at the start of projects like this; modelling accurately and preparing it for high 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 very valuable as advertising campaigns are more and more integrated across digital, print and motion platforms.

The campaign was a massive hit at the MWC in Spain, where viewers were greeted by a 19 foot tall Pegasus Sculpture with a 16 foot wingspan. The sculpture consisted of 3,500 Huawei handsets and took 720 man-hours to build!

The final imagery artwork ran across print outdoor globally.

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