If you live in The Netherlands, you can’t escape the big orange fish. It’s everywhere - at the bus stop, beside roadways, in the newspaper and on tv - the symbol of the Dutch National Lottery, Staatsloterij. And when animation and vfx house, Baked Beans in Amsterdam was approached by Doom & Dickson to create a commercial spot in which the iconic Staatsloterij fish leapt playfully in and out of the ocean at the famous Afsluitdijk, they turned to Fusion to create the high-volume ocean splashes & spray.
Baked Beans put the spot together, modeling & creating all environments, animating the giant fish , plus texturing, compositing and finishing.
The fun starts with the Staatsloterij fish breaching spectacularly from the ocean, a full-frame shot involving around 10 layered cg fluid elements. This time it’s accompanied by a smaller fish advertising a lottery bonus and the two leap through the air, white-water streaming off them, followed by a huge splash as they dive back into the sea.
“When we first saw the previz and spoke to Baked Beans, we were immediately struck by the enormity of the task ahead,” says Mark Stasiuk, co-founder and vfx sup at Fusion, “ the creative called for the two fish to be larger than life – giants -- and the water fx needed to sell the scale. Large-scale water is challenging in that it requires a lot of detail, so that meant huge splashes with a lot of tendrils & ripples & flow features, to be accomplished on a short commercial time-scale. Fortunately, Baked Beans were a really great group to work with, they were very organized, locked animation well in advance, and worked closely with us to adapt the character animation and shot framing to maximize the look and minimize the complexity of the water fx.”
Stasiuk has created a vast library of custom methods & tools as he’s done a lot of large-scale fluids work for films like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, GI Joe, and The Guardian. For GI Joe Fusion developed a proprietary method of coating a breaching submarine in sheeting water, which in turn was an extension of a method he developed for a submarine in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Fusion extended that method yet again and applied it to the Staatsloterij fish, achieving beautiful layers of water actually coating the fish geometry, making them look soaking wet.
“We also have a well developed particle rendering pipeline using custom data conversions to allow us to render our results with Krakatoa,” says Stasiuk. “With that, we were able to create sims of tens of millions of particles and render them relatively quickly, which gave us a lot of power to add multiple layers of sims to the close-up shots, and to give Baked Beans a variety of versions to choose from for the comp.”
Fusion created about 30 large-scale fluid elements using RealFlow for four hero shots, to integrate the fish with their marine environment.
The combination of the perky orange fish characters and the ‘big water’ was so cool, everyone was inspired to put in extra work, including working up a director's cut version of the spot that's an extra 10 seconds long. In fact Baked Beans’ client was so pleased with the results, they asked that the last shot be re-done to show more water and more character animation. In our experience it's a rare thing for a client to say "more cg please!"
Fusion's team: Mike Wallner, Lead Effects Artist; Morris May, Lead Lighter; William Salas, Fluid FX artist; Liz Catullo, Production Assistant; Mark Stasiuk, Co-founder and VFX Supervisor and Lauren Millar, Co-Founder and Executive Producer).
Baked Beans’s team: We haven’t received information as to who the entire team was but two we know for sure: Maarten Boon, owner and David Zaretti
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