Nexus' animation directing duo Smith & Foulkes have created another piece of animation fantasy for the new Honda Jazz. Smith & Foulkes created the award-winning Grrr spot for Honda, as well as Intel's recent social-networking-tapping spot.
This Unpredictable Life is a mix of volumetric lighting and magical particles, bringing to life a fantasy world through which we take an trip. Playing out the central premise of the ad, that life is an unknowable journey, the film pulls an uncomplicated but engaging central character through a series of complex, abstract backgrounds. Set to a cinematic poem ready by Garrison Keilor, the iconic voice of Grrr, we follow our hero as he swoops and wheels through life's journey.
The film begins with a giant shoal of babies. Our camera picks out one individual and so begins our hero's odyssey. We follow him through all the trials and tribulations of childhood and teens, right through to coming of age as an adult, falling in love and having a family of his own.
Through frame after frame of animation the film culminates in the arrival, surprisingly for a Honda commercial, of the Jazz itself. The seats fly into frame neatly catching our character's family and all their attendant paraphernalia to showcase the car's flexibility and the multitude of seat formations.
Ben Cowell, head of 3D at Nexus, says thart "from my very first discussions about the ambitions for this project it was clear that it would be one of the biggest challenges we have faced at Nexus. When describing the vision for the environments the phrase 'Painting with Particles' was used on more than one occasion, often in conjunction with the word 'epic'
"Every project raises the bar for the studio; in this case we would be creating 60 seconds of epic volumetric environments rendered in HD and all of which had to be believably 3D. The studio pulled together and we are really happy with the final result.
Smith & Foulkes add, somehow speaking as one, that "tThe team at Wieden + Kennedy asked us to visually interpret their beautifully poetic script, a fantastic opportunity of endless possibilities that doesn’t come along very often. How can you encapsulate the unpredictable randomness of growing up, falling in love and starting a family. In 60 seconds.
"Our simple plan centred the story on a hero who would encounter all manner of epic silliness as he navigates his way through the different stages of his life. From a playful stream of babies, he travels through the distractions of childhood and the responsibilities of adulthood, spontaneously reacting to whatever life throws at him. The choreography of his journey was very important, the constant flow of his movement through unexpected twists and turns reflecting life’s unpredictable nature.
"Visually, we wanted our hero to be a very simply designed character contrasting with a highly complex world. We used layers of particles to immerse him in a mysterious dreamlike space. Our 3D team were somewhat annoyed when they realised just how much of their painstaking background work ended up completely shrouded in a mysterious dreamlike space. But its nice to know its there."