OnePlus Reaches for the Stars

Cinema 4D blurs the lines between reality and sci-fi in OnePlus’ 5T spot.

Never settle. That has been the motto of smartphone manufacturer OnePlus since its founding in 2013 with a mission to continuously improve their products according to their customers’ wishes. Just how seriously they take their motto was proven with the premier of the OnePlus 5T, which won rave reviews from the press for its nearly edgeless display, modern design and outstanding performance thanks to its very powerful processor.

Wanting to promote their flagship product with a visually impressive spot, OnePlus turned to Shanghai-based motion designer and director, Somei, whom they had full confidence in having worked with him on a previous project. OnePlus’ direction for Somei was straightforward: include the product slogan, use a door as a key visual and create roller coaster-like camera movement. 

Inspired by the product’s slogan “A new view,” Somei’s team personified the smartphone using a robot. After waking up in a gloomy factory hall, the robot sprints out into the open and leaps from a great height to freedom. OnePlus’ positive response to the idea surprised Somei: “I’ll never forget the moment our client approved our unusual concept with the running robot.”

A few months before starting work, Somei met Taiwanese concept designer Mark Chang at a conference and really wanted to work together with him. Since Somei’s team didn’t have any experience with characters, Chang’s skills were a perfect fit and he took over design and modeling of the robot. Having an extensive network of artists was a real advantage for this project, Somei says. “In China, the number of motion graphics artists is small, and I’m in touch with most team members online.”

After OnePlus approved the concept, Somei created an animatic defining each shot and camera perspective. Next, motion designer Zaoeyo, who served as art director, began creating the design concepts for the factory hall, the robot’s escape route and the city into which the robot leaps to freedom. To speed up the process, Zaoeyo used pre-built 3D models and arranged them in the scene. Cinema 4D’s MoGraph Cloner and Instance objects were very helpful for quickly and easily filling the scenes with a large number of models.

Somei hired his friend Peter Zhang to animate the robot. Because Zhang didn’t have a copy of Cinema 4D, the team needed to find a way to transfer his character animation to the model of the robot. After a few tests later, they opted to import Zhang’s model in T-pose into Cinema 4D as an FBX.  Here, the artists were able to begin texturing right away while Zhang continued to work on the animations for the individual scenes before exporting them in FBX. Since the setup of the textured model still reflected that of Zhangs, the artists were able to use the Retarget tag to easily transfer his animation to their model.

Somei used the Motion System in Cinema 4D to adapt the timing of the robot animation. Since the animations were baked, a keyframe was set to each individual frame after the animation was imported into Cinema 4D. Somei simplified the animation curve using the Key Reducer and then adjusted the curve again to the snapshot of the original curve, which made it possible for him to more comfortably edit the animation in the F-Curve Editor. Octane was used for the lighting and the final rendering. 

It was an ambitious project to complete in just a few weeks and Somei credits Cinema 4D for helping his team deliver on time: “The great stability of Cinema 4D, and its excellent connectivity with other software packages, makes it easy for small teams like ours to meet tight deadlines.”

Credits: 
Creative Direction / Main animation : Somei 孙世晟
Art Direction / Scene Design: Zaoeyo 曾潇霖
Character Design: 張以得 (Mark Chang)
Lighting & Rendering:Ray 侯瑞 / Chiu 何志超 / Lewis Orton 火人/Zaoeyo 曾潇霖/Somei 孙世晟
Houdini:Lewis Orton 火人
Modeling:林凯
Character Rigging: do or die
Character Animation: Peter /Somei 孙世晟
Special Thanks: Norin林铖
Editing / Composting /2D motion:Somei 孙世晟
Music & Sound Design: 三十而立 Stanley Chen

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