The clever concept of having boxes unfold one by one, combine and eventually build into an Acura car obviously appealed to Supply & Demand director Jeffery Plansker, who from age 12 has been experimenting with filmmaking.
CG Animator Ben Smith and The Mill 3D team first had to study origami techniques. Fortunately, 'One of the designers, Keith Kim, already knew how to make a few objects,' says Smith. They also sought advice from origami master Robert J. Lang, author of many books on origami. He built them an origami car, a car seat and a steering wheel, and was later filmed unfolding the finished designs, which provided great reference for Ben and the team to study the craft in detail.
'The biggest challenges,' says Ben, 'were choreographing the spot so that the boxes appeared to unfold like real origami, and figuring out how to make compound surfaces out of flat ones.' Continuity and flow were vital. As Ben says, 'We had to establish the language of the animation and how fast the boxes unfolded.' The team also developed a few repeatable tricks to achieve the required shapes. 'We wrote custom 3D tools to automate a number of processes,' Ben explains, 'but most of the animation was good old-fashioned hand animation.'