The ABCs of Rebranding with Cinema 4D

Design and motion graphics studio Already Been Chewed cooks up a fresh rebrand for Malibu Boats.

When Barton Damer was given a tour of the manufacturing facility belonging to Tennessee-based Malibu Boats, his imagination went into high gear immediately. His design company, Already Been Chewed (ABC) (, had been tasked with creating and implementing a rebranding effort across numerous media platforms for Malibu and its sister company, Axis Wake Research. The goal was to illustrate the slogan “Life without limits” and accentuate the active lifestyle that Malibu and Axis can offer their customers.

ABC was chosen for the project because of the company’s history of working with other action sports brands, including Nike, Street League Skateboarding, and Supra Footwear. “We analyze what the competitors are doing and then try to do something totally different,” Damer explains. It was a bold approach, and they didn’t know if Malibu would go for it. But ABC figured, if they won the year-long contract to create a series of catalog images, print ads and online videos using Maxon’s Cinema 4D, it would be best to have presented ideas they would be excited to work on rather than playing it safe.

Creative realism

Damer and ABC’s art director Brad Wolf used Cinema 4D for both the print and animation portions of the Malibu/Axis rebranding project, with the final looks and compositing completed in Photoshop for print and After Effects for video. For the Malibu boats campaign, Life Without Limits, ABC developed a visual that depicts a cubicle-bound office worker transforming into a wake surfer and escaping the limits of his 9 to 5 job into a surreal wake surfing experience behind a Malibu Wakesetter.

ABC set up a photo shoot with professional wake skater, Brian Grubb, to capture the sequence needed for the campaign artwork. After isolating the photos off of their background, ABC set them up in Cinema 4D as textures that were applied to vertical planes. “We used the luminance channel of the texture, as well as the alpha channel of the layer in Photoshop we cut out,” Damer recalls. “This allowed us to place the pictures of Brian into true 3D space within the scene and have the Cinema 4D lights interact with the cut out photos.” Cinema 4D was also used to match the lighting from the original studio shot.

Graphic style

Already Been Chewed opted to introduce a more graphic style for both the Malibu and Axis catalogs after seeing the approach used for the footwear and auto industries but not for boats. One technique they used was to introduce the use of shard-like images that are repeated throughout the branding for Malibu. To create the shards, Damer used a Cloner object in Cinema 4D to replicate a triangle shape. After cloning it along a low-poly version of a wake that they had modeled, renders were composted together in Photoshop to create the scene.

“Cinema 4D allows you to use an object as the basis for your clones,” he says, explaining that a low-poly representation of a wake was created to serve as the basis for the clones to be duplicated across. Random effectors allowed the wave to take on a more organic feel combined with Plane effectors that allowed the transition from smooth “water” to the large wake that was created.

Axis Catalog

For Malibu’s sister company, Axis, ABC used Cinema 4D to come up with a completely different look. Based on ABC’s tours of the factory, this concept put the focus on the craftsmanship of each boat and how they are made by hand. Damer used Cinema 4D to create the futuristic-looking factory and composited the final boat and workers into the shot. Unsure about whether they would be able to get the liquid to do exactly what they wanted it to do through fluid simulation, Damer ended up combining 15 or 16 individual models of liquid rendered out of Cinema 4D and using Photoshop to make them all form the back of the boat.

In addition to the rebranding effort, which will continue for Malibu and Axis throughout the rest of the year, Already Been Chewed has also done several animated features for internet broadcast with television versions coming out in 2014. 

Read the full-length story on Gomediazine:

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