Case Study

Kicking up lots of CG dust, dirt, and mud, Carbon teamed with Toyota, Josh Bodnar at Whitehouse Post, and Saatchi & Saatchi to make a perfect mess for the launch of the 2016 Tacoma.

In the grip of tightening time constraints, our team asked an imperative question—”If can’t see the truck, why frame for it?”

The trick was to make the dust, debris, and Tacoma-induced chaos visible, understandable, and completely relatable back to a truck we don’t see until the last few seconds of the film. Our approach reframed the POV from an “invisible truck” to an inferred one. This shrewd shift of perspective saved significant time and greatly tightened the amount of work required.


We leveraged production-based solutions like the use of dust cannons and a small, more easily-editable dune buggy to kick up dirt, dust, and mud. This allowed us to achieve at least 75% of the desired inference in camera, which we then augmented digitally.

One of the most time-consuming and ultimately rewarding shots was when the Tacoma blasts off a ramp before slamming back down, kicking up a dust and sand explosion. Framing, panning, legal speed limits, and physics were all elements to be factored, so we ran a series of simulations with the Tacoma running at various speeds so we could get both creative and legal approval before proceeding. From there, we augmented the landing with practical dust elements and topped off the shot with a few layers of debris hitting the camera lens.

Saatchi & Saatchi was an integral collaborator throughout the creative process, and they really tapped into the collective VFX experience that our team brought to the table.