In our Behind the Moving Image series, we share the latest and greatest behind the scenes look at how our VFX geniuses bring to life some of our most iconic work. Check out BTS for Xbox ‘Us Dreamers’, Arm & Hammer ‘Once Upon A Time’, Technicolor ‘Masters of Colour’, Starburst ‘Turaffe and Carl’, O2 ‘Bubl’ and most recently, Frangi ‘Goddess’.

Vittel, the natural spring water brand, recently released the latest installment in their ‘Biodiversity’ campaign, featuring full CG by Mikros MPC. The new spots strengthen the brands commitment towards environmental protection, whilst continuing to stay true to its tagline ‘A Water that is Full of Life’. The film begins with woodland animals within their natural environment, then transforms to show that they each have surprising capabilities, such as dancing, boxing and more.

Set in the Vosges Hills, a campaign like this could be imagined a thousand different ways. Our teams in Paris completed intensive character and environment research to ensure the result matched the lush Vosges wildlife and flora where Vittel water is naturally sourced. For the 2020 campaign, the previz was crucial in enabling the Director to choose camera positions, lens focus, plan the character animation, design the setting and edit the films.

Vincent Lobelle, director, says: “The real benefit of the previz compared to a live shoot is we can approve all of our ideas and see what improvements need to be made, such as changing the camera position, timing, acting… It’s a real luxury!”

Following the previz, our teams began creating the photo-realistic CG squirrels, bees, frogs, ladybirds, butterflies, dragonflies and caterpillars and immersed them into the CGI Vosges woodland.

There are many micro details that go into creating CG animals to provide a high level of credibility and photo-realism. We paid particular attention to the muscular systems. For the squirrel, they opted for a simplified muscular system and added effects on the creatures fat under the skin to ensure that it remains consistent with the weight of a real squirrel.

On one side, they had a reference to the genuine anatomy of the animals and on the other side they had sport videos to render the human characterization. This helped to create a subtle balance between emotion and credibility, ensuring a realistic look and feel.

As well as the animals, the environment plays a vital role, as you would expect from a Vittel campaign. Like the other elements, it had to be consistent and realistic throughout, it should also have a touch of fantasy. In particular, the water was a key element as it needed to be realistic, pure, transparent and fully integrated in the setting, we studied the water behavior, as well as the shape of it. In total 100 million particles were created for the simulation of the water.

The films were recently recognized at the Ciclope Festival, where they were awarded Bronze in the Animation category.

If you’d like to talk to Mikros MPC about your brief please visit: https://www.moving-picture.com/contact/paris/