We teamed with Amway and Gorilla to create a completely CGI film for Amway’s Atmosphere Sky purifier. While the core brief never changed from promoting the benefits of the unit, we pitched a much more conceptual approach, and thus the creative brief for the film morphed into something more abstract and emotional.
As creative partners with Gorilla and Creative Director Ross Vande Wa, we were instrumental in devising storyboards, content, style, and the look of the final film. The look came about after a very thorough creative deck, packed with research, inspirational images, and original references, supported by early tests.
One of the main elements of the film, and perhaps one of the most challenging, was the character of the smoke. Creating the smoke as a character was a tightrope between imbuing it with enough personality and intent without tipping into horror territory. Simulating the smoke itself was also tricky job, especially because the behavior we wanted is not physically plausible for real-life smoke.
To make the smoke swirl in the right shape, we used guided curves that shaped the velocity of the smoke to follow a specific path. For shots where the smoke is fully formed, we used Houdini’s cloud rig system, allowing us to sculpt detailed cloud shapes without needing to simulate them. It was important for us to suggest tension while avoiding anything too scary.
To assure the character of the smoke was believable, we relied on the intricacy and drama of our world building. We designed the space, built, textured, and lit it, and then created and animated everything within it. We refined textures and materials used on the surfaces in the space, adding imperfections and scratches, which went towards a photo-real environment. This world is a great example of hyperrealism CGI, a creatively interpreted world that no one expects to exist, but nonetheless looks and feels tangible.
Our partnership with Gorilla was great. They were a super flexible team and allowed us into the creative process right away. We went on to partner with Gorilla again on their next CGI production.