Freefolk have created CGI elephants to be used on an innovative outdoor billboard campaign #MarchForElephants highlighting the plight of endangered elephants in Africa.
The interactive campaign takes donations from the Space For Giants web site www.marchforgiants.org and turns them into a personalised digital elephant which you can see march across a screen in Hong Kong and New York reaching London’s Westfield Stratford on the 23rd March.
‘We were thrilled to be asked by agency 18 Feet & Rising to be part of such an interesting project with such a good cause attached to it” Says producer Vittorio Giannini.
‘As a visual effects company we're used to working with models, textures and lighting where we could allow for a single frame to take an hour to render, so providing the elephants and their world in a way that will render 30 times or more a second required a bit of a different approach’ explains CGI Artist Alaric Holberton.
We relied on first building the models to a very high level of detail, then creating versions with far fewer polygons, sampling the difference between the two and using that difference to give the low poly models the appearance of having much more detail. This is a common practice in games but not necessary to the same degree when doing film or TV work, it was an interesting experience seeing just how far this process could be pushed to allow as many elephants on screen as possible.
The world itself was generated in an entirely procedural way. This meant that instead of hand modelling the landscape and its textures we formed them using driving mathematical functions, including erosion algorithms. This allowed us to quickly try different looks, such as going from an initial alpine style mountain to a more appropriate Mount Kilimanjaro inspired look.
Executive VFX Producer - Vittorio Giannini
VFX Producer - Charles Gillett
CGI - Alaric Holberton
Agency - 18 Feet & Rising
Agency Producer - Russell Taylor
Creative Director - William Thacker
Client - Space For Giants
Platform - Out of Home by Ocean Outdoor
Business Director - Andrew Barnard
Lead Designer - Hamish Gardner
Design - Samuel Guillotel
Media Planning - Ocean Outdoor & Banded Cities