The Louis Vuitton Christmas film was a challenging project both for its story and for the CG work. From the beginning, we knew that the organisation would have to be impeccable so that all departments had a clear understanding of our objectives and could work in parallel on the 60+ we had to create.
During the shoot, Supervisors Alain Boutillier and David Roubah scanned all the models and sets that had been made in order to be able to create our various 3D scenes as quickly as possible (CG sets, camera tracking, conformation of character scales by environment and the animation of these), all in parallel with editing. With the timing being tight, we had to work on everything simultaneously, which was the biggest challenge.
The characters were recreated following the classic steps of construction, but with a solid base from our scans made during the shooting: modelers recreated the characters in a clean way, thinking about the constraints of animation, the rigging artists made the skeleton and the manipulation tools which are then used by the animators who add all the acting and give life to the characters, while we worked on the materials, hairs and textures.
The goal was to stay as close as possible to the models of the characters of the brand, with adding a few details to make them even more credible and endearing in their new environments. This was done by playing with materials of Vivienne – the shades of the Bear’s fur or even their poses and eye contact.
As a CG supervisor, it was a very stimulating project, finding the technical and artistic solutions and checking the quality and the harmony between the shots, on top of knowing how to centralise and share information with the different departments in a team of almost 20 artists. For example, if an animator couldn’t make a movement with the character, we had to send the information to the set up/rigging team so that they could add controllers and respond to the needs of the other teams in a very short time.
Our artists did a great job, and thanks to them, we are transported into a Christmas story in the colours of Louis Vuitton.
-Vincent Coni, CG Supervisor
For this film, our main mission was to animate the two iconic characters of the brand and integrate them into the filmed sets. As a VFX supervisor, I was present from the preparation of the project and on the shoot. These creative phases feed the whole project, it is essential to share the right information and to come back with clear creative directions to anticipate and facilitate the VFX work. We started by making a previs (animated storyboard) in order to illustrate the use of the sets under construction in the first cut of the film. A first characterization of the characters was also proposed so that each one could project the future presence of the characters in the shots. (Cycles of steps, simple actions present in the film…)
During the shooting, we made several tests with 3D prints of the characters to enrich the reading of the shots and to make sure to create a connivance between the two protagonists of this story.
Once the shooting was finished and the proportions validated, we started to work on the acting of the mascots. Vivienne was to be a prankster, playing tricks on the clumsy bear. Louis Vuitton and director Gary Freedman’s vision was clear and gave us some artistic freedom to bring the characters to life. As a result, we added some additional elements to the real mascots, such as eyelids and eyebrows. It was also a pleasure to work with the cinematographer Linus Sandgren who quickly understood the issues related to the space, the variations in universe sizes, and of course the 3D manufacturing.
As the schedule was short, we changed our usual work methodology (linear work and succession of CG disciplines) to organize the different trades simultaneously.
To advance on the animation and the integration of the characters in the sets, we scanned the different universes and created temporary cameras. With this flexible production method, the animation was almost finalized before we even received the camera trackings. It was a pleasure to work with the artists of Mill Paris who worked hard and flexibly to keep the busy and tight schedules while fully feeding the universe of this project.
-Alain Boutillier, VFX Supervisor
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