Version2's Micah Scarpelli cuts this serenely beautiful spot for Smirnoff North, a new blend of the classic vodka flavored with Nordic berries. CD/Inferno Artist Kieran Walsh and Director Mikon Van Gastel collaborated to create the seamless melding of live action with intricate CG and VFX. A sweeping camera pan shows snowy glaciers, ice shelves, and deep blue water as the narrator speaks of a place so exquisite, the line between earth and sky is blurred. As we are drawn into this arctic Eden our tranquility is interrupted as a giant blueberry-skewered sword suddenly drops from the sky, piercing the highest ice cap. The utopia transforms into a cocktail glass full of the vodka, with mountains of ice and a garnish of berries new heaven to experience.
"I think this is one of those projects that looks relatively simple, but was deceptively complicated to achieve the exact look we wanted," said Kieran Walsh from Version2. "To create the iceberg, we utilized a hybrid approach of both 3D and live action. The iceberg was match-modeled to a high resolution image and then rendered as many different layers. We had some passes of highly refractive transparent ice and others in a more opaque frosty material. This gave me the flexibility to selectively combine these different looks as required.
We pulled the animation data from 3D into Inferno using a cross platform FBX translator. This enabled me to seamlessly integrate 2D elements into the 3D space. For example, we decided that the ice that falls away from the berg would look best as live action projected onto the 3D geometry and were able to have it track perfectly with the CG in this way."
Other elements that were incorporated were layers of mist and spray around the base of the berg and a flock of birds that get startled by the impact and fly away. The spray was generated with particles in After Effects and the birds were shot on bluescreen. These subtleties helped add a sense of monumental scale to the scene.
The sea was simulated in 3D and was one of the most time consuming parts of the project. To reinforce the feeling of scale, there needed to be a tremendous amount of detail in the water displacement, which required working with some extremely dense meshes.
The product shot was composed of multiple CG passes with the only live action being the dry ice elements around the bottle. As with the iceberg, everything was broken out and rendered separately, from the shadows and caustic light passes on the cyc, to the ice and glass layers. This facilitated maximum flexibility and experimentation in the finishing process.