Design shop Mr. Wonderful recently concepted, designed and produced an HD show open, identity and graphics package for “Appraise My Car,” a new series on the Discovery Channel.
“Appraise My Car” is a traveling show, and focuses on muscle and sports cars that are appraised by experts. The stylized open uses a blend of car-inspired graphics and sweeping colors, which interact with beautifully shot cars such as a Camaro SS 396 and Oldsmobile 442, and then resolves into the shiny show logo.
The client, Roger Williams of Roger Wilco Productions, called Mr. Wonderful after seeing its work for NHL telecasts on the sports channel Versus.
“All aspects of high definition require the best possible production elements as there is no room for error,” says Williams. “This especially holds true for the design and creative process for HD graphics. Mr. Wonderful had the technical capability and had proven themselves with the creative aspect in their work for the NHL and others. With ‘Appraise My Car’ they demonstrated that they are indeed at the forefront of HD graphics.”
“With a title like ‘Appraise My Car,’ the logo needed to fit 10 pounds of type into a five-pound bag,” explains Lowry. “We came up with the idea of embedding the entire phrase within the length of a silhouetted car body. The look of the logo is chrome and shiny, just like a brand new – or in this case a mint condition -muscle car. It was a balancing act between finding the right style of car that had the recognized features of a popular car of the time, without giving too much away in terms of a specific model.”
The hybrid car logo is a mix of a Mustang Fastback, a 442, and a Dodge Challenger. The logo material throughout the package is comprised of car textures, blinker lights, and chrome detailing.
“The graphics had to get across a lot of information, whether it was the condition and value of the car or large pages of specs, while enhancing the experience of watching the show,” adds Henderson. “Creatively, the design of the project was pretty wide-open, which we love. And the tight turnaround made for a nice challenge. Good thing we’ve got a high-end coffee machine.”
In addition, the show footage was shot before any consideration was given to a graphics package, and the time constraint kept Mr. Wonderful from having the opportunity do shoot any custom car shots. As such, there weren’t a lot of raw materials for the artists to work with.
“Thankfully, we had some beautifully-lit HD footage of crane moves over some of the cars,” comments Lowry. “We were able to rotoscope these signature cars, but we did have to repaint portions of them that were out of frame or adjust our designs to hide the fact that we only had 70% of a particular car in a shot.”
Henderson states it was also a challenge to find a unifying design style to accommodate the various cars in the open. “These cars have very disparate design aesthetics and came from different manufacturing eras. We had to make sure the ’85 Porsche scene was as appropriate and stylized as the ’50s Mercury sequence.”
The technology used included Maxon Cinema 4D for CG modeling, Autodesk Combustion for rotoscoping, Adobe After Effects for animation, Autodesk Flame for compositing and a bunch of Matchbox cars that the artists raced on the floor.
Production Company: Roger Wilco Productions
President/Chief Creative Officer: Roger Williams
Executive Producer: John Coscia
Design and VFX Company: Mr. Wonderful/New York, NY
Creative Director: Beirne Lowry
Executive Producer: Damien Henderson
Designers/Animators: Matt Hanson & Frank Farella
Compositor/Rotoscoping: Laurie Duke
Postproduction Company: Palace Digital Studios/Norwalk, CT