In Vase :30 we find ourselves in a white minimalist space that is representative of inside of the vacuum. The conspicuous shards of glass and splatters of paint are exhibited in a dance against the suction power pulling them in the same direction, before being condensed into one multihued glass vase. As we move away from the vase and out of the vacuum, we see a woman tidying up and dispensing of the conveniently compressed dirt.
Asylum, under Mark Romanek’s direction, conceptualized and created the metaphoric world inside the LG vacuum. This spot was done in close collaboration with BBH/NY and Mark Romanek from Anonymous. Aside from the live action pullout shot of the lady vacuuming, the entire spot was created in CG.
From Asylum’s Sean Faden:
“Asylum faced a number of unique challenges in bringing LG’s Vase to life, including an all CG environment, tremendous amounts of fluid and dynamic simulations, and an abstract story needing to be told within the limited time of a 30 second spot. Due to the open-ended nature of an all CG piece, the progression from storyboards to previs to final renders took Asylum’s team through multiple concepts of how the paint should flow, how dynamic the cameras should be, and how architectural the environments should read.
The camera work was tricky because the shots needed to look as if they were actually shootable on a partial set, while at the same time giving as much screen presence to the fluids as possible. Thankfully, it was agreed upon at an early stage that the camera’s movement would gradually increase as the story progressed- which gave the animators a rough rule of thumb to follow. Also difficult was figuring out how to actually form the final vase while demonstrating a consistent compaction across the final moments.
Early tests had more of jigsaw puzzle build with swirling liquids mixed in, but in the end, the pieces were made to collide and compress while scaling down as they hit each other. Additionally, a fluid vase slowly swells up from the center giving the illusion that the vase is growing from the continual flow towards its center.
Asylum had developed a lot of fluid tools within Maya and RealFlow on Benjamin Button, and used many of them to achieve the paint flows that are seen. Also utilized were Houdini’s fluid tools when the shot called for glass penetrating fluid. All of the glass was actually Houdini based dynamic simulations that allowed the pieces to realistically bounce off of one another and their environment. The simulations on average took about half a day to run, and over the course of the production, Asylum’s effects team ran a few hundred of them, trying to get the perfect movement for each shot.
While in general it is useful to mix practical and cg elements to create an effect such as this, it is notable that in the end, due to animation constraints and look requirements, there were no practical elements employed to create the effects. As a result, with each iteration of lighting, animation, and compositing the spot eventually came to life- a testament to the patience of all involved.”
Asylum is a premier visual effects and design company, handling high-profile features, commercials, music videos, and emerging media content for web and mobile platforms. Asylum created the visual effects for such films as Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World (Academy Award and BAFTA nominated), Moulin Rouge, Minority Report, Phantom Of The Opera, Pirates Of The Caribbean ll & lll, Mel Gibsons’s Apocalypto, Tony Scott’s D?¬¨¬©j?? Vu, Man on Fire & Domino and Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down. Asylum has done spot work for brands such as Nike, Sony Playstation, Coke, BMW, Gatorade and Visa.
In addition, Asylum Design has created award winning title and graphic design work for such films as Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, X-Men I & II, The Island, Bad Boys II and XXX.
Spot Title: Vase
Air Date: January 09
Agency: BBH, NY
CD: Dylan Bernd
AD: Thompson Harrell
Copywriter: Nike Zafonte
Sr. Producer: Julian Katz
Prod Company: Anonymous Content
Director: Mark Romanek
EP/Head of Commercials: Dave Morrison
Head of Production: Sue Ellen Clair
Producer: Scott Kaplan
VFX Supervisor: Sean Faden
EP: Michael Pardee
Compositing Supervisor: Tim Davies
CG Supervisor: Jason Schugardt
CG Producer: Jeff Werner
Producer: Mark Allen Kurtz
Production Coordinator: Diana Cheng
3D Modeling Artist(s): Greg Stuhl, Aaron Vest, Toshiro Sakamaki
3D Particle Animation: Jens Zalzala
3D Look Development: Mathew Maude
3D Particle Effects: Gunther Schatz, Beatriz Lorenzo
3D Lead Lighting: Brian Bell
3D Lighting: Dan Abrams, Bret St. Clair
3D Tracking: Eddie Offermann