Going into the project, what did you expect to be the greatest challenge? Did that prove to be accurate and how did you meet the challenge?
Christopher: The biggest challenge I think everyone felt before the project kicked off was the sheer size of it. I mean, everyone was excited out of their minds to be part of such a cool commercial. It's not very often that something like this drops in your lap. For me I knew there were going to be some challenging moments getting all the character designs together, especially since there's never really enough time.
Since we were working with such a world famous brand like Coca-Cola, you had to remember that the characters you create will be representing that brand. In this case it was the furry creatures that took the longest to nail down. They were to be beastly but still had to be friendly and likable. That made the process a bit trickier. But we did have some really great concept art provided by Nexus and a day to day collaboration together with FX & Mat which helped a lot. So I think in the end it turned out to be as great as everyone had hoped.
Before starting working in commercials I've worked with games for about ten years. The process there is very similar to where commercials and film are now. The big difference though is that creating a game can span from two to four years, while the production time for a commercial like this almost never longer than three or four months including pre-production. Yet the quality needs to be top notch which I really think we achieved.
Mary: Sadly the time we had to produce the work was always going to be really tight. I had 3 weeks in total to model and texture the child and woman including several variations of outfits. We were also having daily reviews by the producers and agency, so having to prepare the work to be reviewed every day whilst addressing comments and keeping up with the schedule proved to be the most challenging for me. Wherever I could I borrowed bits and pieces from another character and quickly modeled them into something else I needed.
Grant: Creating the dragon at the scale the clients wanted was my biggest concern. I was aware that we would be would be getting pretty close on the dragon's head for some shots as well as having a number of wide shots viewing the entire body. I know from previous projects that working with textures higher than 8k is a major nightmare and so decided that figure was my limit for texture space. My worry was not having enough detail for close up shots if I wanted to keep to one UV set.
I decided that the simplest approach was to have a separate head for the dragon close ups. Thismayhave been a problem if using another software but thanks to ZBrush's Project All geometry tool I was able to sculpt a separate higher resolution head with a separate set of UV's. So I had one ZTool for the head and one ZTool for the entire dragon. I sculpted the entire dragon's body at twelve million polys and the separate head came to eleven million polys. I would then project the higher resolution head onto the entire dragon, thus creating the head detail for the wider shots.
It turned out that this was a little overcautious as the entire dragon model with one 8k texture had enough detail for the close up shot required. However this workflow let my mind rest easy that if we needed a more detailed model I had one available.