Keep Walking, Brazil
Sugar Loaf Mountain is more than just a monolithic morro of
granite and quartz. In NEOGAMA/BBH's new commercial for Johnnie
Walker, Director Peter Thwaites and The Mill NY make the historic
rock come to life in the form of a lumbering giant.
Based on the brand positioning "KEEP WALKING," the new campaign
featuring "Rock Giant" has the same grand, iconic style of
the globally famous commercials of the brand. The idea was inspired
by Brazil's growth and its importance in the global economy.
"The rock giant project was right up our street," says The Mill
NY's Executive Creative Director Angus Kneale. "We got heavily
involved in the production from the beginning. At the shoot
In Brazil, we shot high-speed footage of an actor buried under
mountains of earth and rock that later proved invaluable for timing
and reference. We wanted to create something epic, something
mesmerizing in its scale and complexity. Our giant had to feel
powerful, yet wise and noble.
"Conceptualizing the giant started well before the project was
awarded," Kneale continues, "as the giant's design would drive the
whole project. We had a range of artists-from traditional sculptors
to concept illustrators-bring him to life."
Lead 3D Artist Rob Petrie expounds on the rock giant's design
process: "We spent several weeks with a concept designer, as well
as a few 3D artists, to develop the scale, proportion and look of
the giant. The articulation was a major factor in the design
itself, as we were limited to how much movement he could have and
still be believable and be a part of this world."
Lead 3D Artist Vince Baertsoen set up the whole pipeline around
the render engine Arnold. "It allowed us to render millions of
trees and debris in a fraction of the usual time," he explains.
The realism of the trees is among "Rock Giant's" most
captivating visual effects. Baertsoen says, "It was especially
exciting to work on the trees. I wrote a system that made them
react to the giant's movements, and the trees also break and shed
leaves when hit by the boulders and rocks."
"Combining real-life effects with animated CG elements is what
makes the giant come to life," says Lead Compositor Gavin
Wellsman. "We animated the hero boulders by hand and combined
them with live action dust and debris which really makes it feel
authentic. I think what made this project run so smoothly was
having all 25 people on the team, including the producer, sitting
together in a project suite. "