One of the most striking things about the ad is the way that the car’s shiny surfaces reflect the landscape it’s whizzing through, while the spherical monsters attacking it reflect light in a duller, flatter way.
To achieve consistent lighting for these very disparate surfaces, the team used global illumination, which Richard Rosenman says “yielded a distinctive look in which 2D objects retained their flat, two-dimensional look, yet fully interacted with the environmental lighting.”
The global illumination was applied to the photorealistic vehicle, as well as to the graphic characters. “We had to ensure properly interacting, fully ray traced 2D reflections and shadows that were cast on the 3D vehicle,” says Rosenman.
Of course, there were complications. “There were numerous technical issues we had to overcome for this spot, which relied mainly on the successful integration of 3D and 2D elements,” says Roseman.
The packed environment and maximalist aesthetic was problematic – Rosenman says this demanded the construction of “hundreds and hundreds” of separate elements, all dashing and zooming around one another.
“The sheer volume of objects in each scene made the rendering and compositing quite complex, especially when you take note that numerous objects are moving behind, in front of and through other elements throughout each shot,” he explains.
“This meant breaking down complex layers... and prepping specifc scenes for each element that required rendering matte objects, cutting out the characters when required.”
Adding a sense of motion was also tricky. “Since barely any blurs were used throughout the spot, due to a conflict in visual style, techniques such as depth fading [and] depth of field... had to be produced using different methods – particularly with colour treatment,” continues Rosenman.
The spot took the nine-strong Hatch team eight weeks to complete. Producer Holly Nichols says: “I can honestly say I’ve ever been as excited about a spot as I was the morning I saw the final render of Rollercoaster. I couldn’t wait for it to be released.”
Rosenman says that the support given to the team by Ford and Y&R Toronto was crucial to Hatch’s positive experience of working on the spot. “Of course, I don’t think you’d find an animation studio that wouldn’t say they couldn’t have improved something had more time been offered... [but] Props to our agency and client friends, who made this such a fun project to work on.”
The palette of sand and moss-green tones was chosen to ensure that they blended in with the slightly murky palette of the environment. The car is a streak of blue racing through this colourscape.
“Creatively, fusing all these colours together in each scene to be cohesive with one another and still allow the vehicle to be more prominent than anything else was challenging,” admits Rosenman.
Chris Cann, who designed the grinning, winged creatures that pursue the car, was inspired by the idea of ‘evil’ Renaissance cherubs in his initial sketches.
The monsters were modelled in 3D and then toon-shaded to give them a flat, cartoonish feel.
Agency: Y&R Toronto
Software: Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk 3DS Max, Nevercenter Silo, VRay Toon