204

Commercials - VFX

Eboo - Ebookers

Freefolk

freefolk.com

Working in collaboration with advertising agency Fallon London and director Adam Gunser, through Darling Films, the crew at Freefolk have delivered creature shots for a series of adverts for ebookers - the online travel provider.

The spots, to be shown across Europe throughout 2022, depict Eboo, a small monkey that pops up and directs people to use the ebookers app to book their holidays.

The artistic challenge in creating Eboo lay in the fact that although his appearance is realistic, he needed to come across as a friendly and helpful human personality as opposed to a wild animal. “Striking a natural balance between an appealing character and a realistic creature was challenging,” says Freefolk 3D artist Jansen McCord. “We overcame this by tuning the density of the fur to be more expressive, and brightening the eyes to allow for more emotion.”

The trickiest parts of the whole project were the transitional shots in which we follow Eboo from one location to another. The sweep of the camera had to be one fluid movement, which was difficult to achieve with the source material.

2D artist, Rob Sheridan, carried out work in Nuke and commented, “Unfortunately, as with most things, there were limitations on what they could achieve in the timeframe, with neither transition matching up correctly in camera. To get the camera movement to align we tracked both shots for each of the two transitions and created UV textures in Nuke using the cameras that we could then project. One of our 3D wizards blended from one camera’s movement to the next, allowing us to project our UV textures back onto the geometries and then rendering through the combined cameras’ movement - all inside of Nuke.

This was really complicated when you take into consideration the amount of motion blur and the native camera vignettes that made painting a flat UV texture a troublesome task. At a certain point when the cameras have gone back to their original movement we could then switch back to the original footage, fooling everyone into thinking Eboo really does have magic powers.”

There was also an extensive amount of 2D required around interactions with clothing and objects, as well as colour grading and the usual complexities that come with mixing CG and live action.

A team of five 3D artists and one animator worked for one month to deliver the Eboo asset using Mari, Houdini, and Maya with Yeti and Arnold. “In order to keep the creature workflow focused inside one package, we tied the groom created in Yeti to an nHair simulation rig, scripting the caching process for the fur to be used later in lighting,” says Jansen.

CREW

Post Producer - Cheryl Payne
VFX Supervisor - Jason Watts
CG Supervisor - Harin Hirani
Shoot Supervisor - Jim Radford
Flame - Judy Roberts
Flame Assist - Theo Maggs
Generalists - Matt Fisher, Jansen McCord, Lewys Rhodes, Daniel Evans
Nuke - Rob Sheridan
Animator - Henry Fenwick

Director - Adam Gunser
Agency - Fallon London
Production Company - Darling Films
Producer - Hector Murray
Creatives - Gina Ramsden, Freya Purnell
Creative Director - Graham Lakeland
Executive Creative Director - Mark Elwood
Account Manager - Gabriella Watts
Managing Partner - Jo Tauscher

Software

Adobe Suite (Premier Pro, After Affects, Photoshop)