May 1, 2010
THE SKINNY Prime Focus’ VFX team recreates a modern day version of the classic tale of Hare and Tortoise for Central Bank of India. Conceptualized by RK Swami BBDO, the commercial was executed by the creative team at Prime Focus VFX consisting of Merzin Tavaria, Raj Tambaku and Sumeet Gupte, supported by a team of 20 artists at Prime Focus’ VFX facility at Royal Palms, Mumbai. The fully animated ad called The Race is one part of a three-part campaign for Central Bank of India, promoting the bank as having ‘Refreshingly Different Ideas’. Merzin Tavaria, chief creative director, Prime Focus said, “The distinct nature of the concept and its execution by the Prime Focus VFX team propelled the existing standard of animation for commercials to a completely different level of creative and technical brilliance.” Speaking about the creative brief Prime Focus’ Raj Tambaku said, “The brief that we received from the agency was to keep it refreshingly different, by creating a much needed modern twist to this classic tale of Hare and Tortoise. It also had to be amusing and should be able to instantly connect with the present day generation. Said Gautam Pandit, creative director, “The brief was to create a communication that was fresh and different to strengthen the Central Bank of India’s positioning in the consumer’s mind, and one that would break the clutter in the financial category. Therefore the idea had to be different and yet with an element of surprise. The agency came up with the concept of communicating the thought through well-known Panchatantra tales; with an interesting twist to make it even more memorable, and refreshing.” THE PRODUCTION The project posed certain physical and creative challenges. Project lead Sumeet Gupte said, “One of the challenges was to keep it modern, yet maintain the authenticity and nostalgia around it. Another challenge was to simultaneously conceptualize three different concepts in such tight deadlines.” There are three main characters in the ad – the Hare, Tortoise and the Monkeys. Prime Focus team started with studying and developing numerous concepts for the look & feel and the behavior of these central characters. “Around 25 blend shapes per character were created in order to aid and facilitate their actions, expressions and dialogue deliverance for the character animators,” explains Gupte. “Another challenge was the texturing of the main characters. Apart from adding the fur and the right amount of softness to it, particularly for the hare, we also had to make sure the fur on each of the central characters is uniquely distinct, which was technically quite challenging.” To make it look more visually appealing, the characters had to be blend in with beautiful background imagery. Prime Focus VFX team created every tree in the background distinctly – every tree was conceptualized, designed and modelled differently. Not only the models but even the textures are unique. THE POST Detailed shadow maps were used from mental ray, to render transparent shadow maps for all the shots. Overall seven passes were used to aid the compositing process and to maintain a surreal and soft look for the overall commercial. “We have already delivered the first two concepts for Central Bank of India and are currently working on the third. Prime Focus has always strived to push the boundaries of visual entertainment and set standards for others to follow. This commercial is testimonial to our unmatched technical and creative expertise,” concluded Tavaria.