March 15, 2013

Projected Perspectives

Beamer projections are a crowd favorite at any live event. But before anything can be projected, content has to be created – and this is where MAXON Cinema 4D comes in!

Flash is required!

The Renault Clio is one of the best-selling cars in Slovenia. To maintain its market standing, Renault staged a special live event for its dealerships to present the newest version of the Clio. The spectacular show used projections to create movement and the desired ambience around the Clio, which stood motionless on a stage at the center of it all. The event, which was planned as an all-encompassing happening, used the projections in combination with music, visuals, dancers, food and drink to capture all of the attendees’ senses. The projections blanketed the Clio and the stage’s background with spectacular animations and were designed to convey the new model’s key features: design, sportiness and technology.

The agency Publics Slovenia was given the job of creating the videos for the projection. Publics turned to 3fs for help on the project, whose artists worked hand-in-hand with the team at Publics in creating the animations. To be able to plan everything down to the last detail, a replica of the stage was made available onto which the 3D artists could test their animations.

The artists thought that the project could best be realized using Cinema 4D’s projection mapping feature – which turned out to be the right approach. After the technical feasibility had been determined it was time to match the concept to the project’s benchmark data: personnel, deadline and budget. “The result was surprising because the solution we had conceived would require at least twice the manpower, double the time and quadruple the budget,” remembers Tomislav Vagaja, 3D artist at 3fs.

After reanalyzing everything, a more advantageous solution was found in which Cinema 4D would be used to create more than just the actual projection. Instead of testing the projections on a real-world replica of the stage, the team used Cinema 4D for testing and fine-tuning the animations to be projected. This method was used to render the images that were to be initially fed into the projector. However, before this was done, all images were fed into a virtual projector in Cinema 4D, tested and fine-tuned. Once the virtual results were close to final quality, testing was conducted on the replicated stage. The animations for the projected scenes were rendered in layers and exported to Adobe After Effects where color correction, depth of field and motion blur were added. After further testing, the images were again edited, with additional color correction being made and masks being added until all scenes interacted seamlessly when projected from three separate projectors for a perfect visual effect.

In addition to the usual challenges encountered when working with 3D, additional challenges common to production pipelines – such as numerous last-minute changes – had to be surmounted. For example, a dummy vehicle had to be used because the actual car was not yet available for use; another challenge was the fact that several factors could unexpectedly change the position of one or more of the projectors. But thanks to Cinema 4D, all necessary adjustments could be easily made and modified animations could quickly be supplied to the projectors.

All stops were pulled out for the final film: The Clio is, for example, blanketed by blood vessels at whose center the Renault logo pulsates. The vehicle is then swept through a snowy landscape and freezes over. The Clio is also covered with leaves in a forest setting and driven through a city illuminated by neon lights. These and many other effects turn this event into a very special visual experience, which will long be remembered. One project among so many that demonstrates just how flexible, efficient and powerful MAXON Cinema 4D really is!