Sons and Daughters and Crush have created a lavish journey though Japan’s rich cultural heritage that reveals the brewing process behind Sapporo beer. Co-directed by Mark Zibert (Sons and Daughters) and Gary Thomas (Crush), the beautifully-detailed two minute film was shot on location over a month in Guangzhou, China.

“The original concept was to create an other-worldly visual experience that would gradually tell the story of how Sapporo beer is crafted,” explains Thomas. Taking children’s cutaway storybooks as their starting point, Thomas and Zibert drew on a range of film and VFX techniques to build the finished image.

“Aesthetically we looked at a few techniques off the top, says Zibert. “We first considering creating the entire spot with motion control and CG. Then experimenting with projecting 2D art/matt paintings onto geometry (developed by Crush Sean Cochrane) and finding it had a unique quality to make this campaign stand apart. So the spot is not entirely photo or CG or 2D illustration, but a combination of all three,” adds Zibert.

Three artists were assigned to create each of the transitional rooms, with illustrations by James Zhang guiding the way at every step. To bring the film to life, Zibert and Thomas worked with an assortment of trained martial arts experts, sumo wrestlers and actors cast as Samurai and Geisha. Japanese cultural advisors were on set throughout to ensure authenticity across the production, with the same level of detail being paid to costume design and art direction.

The project was done in Flame and Inferno, with Maya, and After Effects used too. The dragon sequence tapped the talents of Loki VFX.