"We wanted to make a fun spot showing toyish cars that were realistically animated and cool looking," says Felix Urquiza, our Lead 3D Artist on 'Immersion'. "We had to find the right look, a mix between a photo-real world and the more stylized world of our spot."
Working closely with the agency and Urquiza, our Robert Sethi and Steve Beck directed the Mattel Hot Wheels' stars: Twinmill, the green hero car which is based on a real-world version of a Twinmill Mattel built, and competitor hot rods Boneshaker, Urban Agent and Howling Heat. "Our biggest challenge directing was trying to fit all the action into a :30 spot," Sethi says. "We tried to show and go through as many scenarios as possible from the perspective of a child's unfiltered imagination, rapidly changing and evolving."
Urquiza built the pipeline for the job, encompassing textures, models, naming conventions, folders, resolutions and more. "It was tricky dealing with 100 percent CG and no live plates," he explains. "We started from scratch, took photos for reference, then replicated in CG. This meant ensuring every little detail, from color to decals to tire rims, contour, etc., had to be exactly like the real Twinmill Mattel built.
"For Boneshaker, Urban Agent and Howling Heat we modeled based on CAD renders of the toy car, finding a balance between toy and realistic cars," Urquiza continues. "Having to render with motion blur, full CG environment and full HD, our render time averaged about two hours a frame."
Beck sums up the atypical toy commercial project: "We're so used to making commercials that are of a serious nature, and product focused. This was a chance for us to stretch our imaginations and have some fun. To make something that appeals to kids and the kid in all of us. It's a good old-fashioned car chase with sharks! What's not appealing about that!?"