The Vanity Creates CG Environment for Canada Life
This project was to create a commercial for the insurance and financial services company Canada Life. Other than creating the CG environment itself, some of the challenges faced involved the creative and technical issues on set. Autodesk Maya was used for pre-viz to reveal the characters and their placement in space. All in all, there were 20 different passes, each with 1,000 frames, which meant 20,000 frames of footage! There was a lot of rotoscoping and some of it in slow motion.
The Vanity was looking to create a photorealistic environment that would feel like the Canadian Shield. It was needed to have a city in the background and water in the front. They initially wanted to build practical sets with rocks and shrubs and use green screens for the backgrounds, so there was some reluctance when we suggested creating the environment in CG. For example, a fisherman was meant to stand knee-deep in water at the front of the tableau with several other characters behind.
CineSys did the assembly and lighting in Maya. Because of our Bolt camera rig tracking shots, we had some limitations in terms of speed, but we figured it out by lining it up and setting up keyframes in Maya. For rendering and things with a lot of geometry, we used Arnold, and we rendered 14,000 frames in the cloud! Flame was used for finishing and tracking and versioning. The Vanity has counted on CineSys to provide Autodesk software, support, and hardware integration for many years.
We have a really good relationship with The Vanity and they trusted in the process and in us. They really loved the end product. We didn’t even have much client feedback in the end, which is unusual. This was one of the first big jobs we had during the Covid-19 pandemic, so we were excited to see how well it worked out, despite all the social distancing in place and remote requirements.
"It was a fun spot to work on. With a small CG department, the scope of it becomes bigger. We have come to a point where three people in a month can create an entire CG environment like this. It opens up so many possibilities for this type of work that may have previously been out of budget. At The Vanity, we are always coming up with new ideas and new ways of doing things. I feel lucky that we can constantly adapt to the changes," says Josh (The Vanity).
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