Pixomondo recently collaborated with TBWAChiatDay Los Angeles to create an abstract dance-infused spot promoting the 2012 GRAMMY awards show featuring electronic musician and Best New Artist nominee Skrillex. In the spirit of the 'We Are Music' campaign, the spot features a metallic liquid pulsating and swirling to Skrillex's beats, seemingly dancing to the music.
With a short timeline and a mandate to create a spot that emphasized the feel of the music, Pixomondo collaborated with technical director and copywriter Matt Kalish to develop the metallic aesthetic and the techniques used to execute the concept. After it was determined how the fluid would move in previs, Skrillex was shot on a motion capture stage in Venice along with a dancer who performed to his beats. The movements of the dancer were then distilled to moving particles, conveying the essence of the performance. Glimpses of the dancer's form are shown but it's the music that takes center stage. With particle simulations tracked to the mocap, the liquid is seemingly driven by action and energy. When the dancer thrusts out an arm, the liquid mimics that movement in an accurate representation of her motions.
"From a technical standpoint, creating this work was very challenging, but it was also a lot of fun and something we hadn't really done before," said Simon Mowbray, Pixomondo Creative Director. "We were aiming to create a kinetic piece that works intimately with the music and I think the spot does exactly that. Everyday we were finding new solutions and kind of making things up as we went. Matt is an outstanding director and was very involved, working side by side with us at Pixomondo to the benefit of the project.
A team of six artists in Los Angeles and Berlin, two of Pixomondo's 11 studios around the world, spent about three and a half weeks working on the spot. Elements were modeled and animated in Autodesk 3DS Max and Cinema 4D. Other tools used include Particle Flow, Frost, After Effects, Maya, and FBX for integrating project files across software packages.