THE MAKING OF

Making Of: Daily Drivers with Alex Bernstein – CGI

Project: CGI / Alex Bernstein  Photographer: Alex Bernstein  Creative Director:  Steven Orts  CGI Artist:  Luke Burke, Alex Bowen  Post Artist: Steven Orts, Andrew Coleman

Daily Drivers: A peep behind the scenes of a project built on absurdity

A car is a tool. Its uses range drastically: from everyday tasks like commuting, shopping and school runs, to more exciting functions like self-expression and road trips. And then there’s racing… Race cars are a uniquely specialized end of this spectrum. Their sole purpose is to be fast and light, with creature comforts and road manners thrown out the window all in the name of victory. But at the end of the day, they’re still cars: four wheels, a seat and some pedals.

When it comes to getting around the city, most New Yorkers opt for public transportation, because having a car in Manhattan is like trying to paint a mural with a Q-tip. So here — in this alternate and absurdist reality — a few legendary race cars break the boundaries of their purpose.

Daily Drivers Nº 1 : 1999 Toyota GT-One (TS020)

In this reality, these retired steeds continue their service. They may not be flat out in Eau Rouge, or spraying gravel off the cliffs of Pikes Peak, but they’re still living, still used, and still loved.

Daily Drivers Nº 2 : 2003 Bentley Speed 8

Steven Orts of Recom Farmhouse’s New York studio outlined the rough project idea to photographer and amateur racer, Alex Bernstein, who traveled back to his old stomping grounds in New York to brainstorm with the team, scout and shoot in some iconic locations, working his magic to bring this project to life.

Daily Drivers Nº 3 : 1967 Ferrari 330 P4

With his love for motorsports, Alex nailed the angles to capture the city scenes with their obstructions and ambiance, all while still feeling handheld and natural, as if you were walking through the city streets and had just spotted these ridiculously out-of-place machines.

Daily Drivers Nº 4 : 1990 Jaguar XJR-12

All the cars are full CGI. Each model required heavy amounts of refinement, while we retextured and prepped in the studio. With great care and patience, the finer details were added. Dust and grit, scuffs and scrapes, raindrops and reflections all work together to fully immerse these cars into their respective worlds. We captured domes from each location which enabled proper reflections to be brought back into post production. Finally, meticulous colour grading enhanced the light and shade of New York City and integrated the composited images.

Daily Drivers Nº 5 : 1986 Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2

See the full series on Behance and on recomfarmhouse.com.

Creative Direction: Steven Orts / Recom Farmhouse NYC
Photographer: Alex Bernstein
CGI: Luke Burke & Alex Bowen / Recom Farmhouse NYC
Retouching: Steven Orts & Andrew Coleman / Recom Farmhouse NYC

Recom Farmhouse is on InstagramFacebookVimeo and Twitter!   More work at recomfarmhouse.com.   Fresh work showcased every month in our newsletter – see examples and sign up here.

Making Of: Perfect Storm with Thomas Brown

Sci-fi influences are worn proudly on the sleeve of this series for Wallpaper magazine. Thomas Brown was commissioned again for their “Perfect Storm” editorial, in which “elemental forces and industrial strength converge in a whirlwind of high-voltage design”.

Thomas worked with his long term collaborator, the set designer Matt Morris. Together with Cloud and Horse set builders and projectionist Insight Lighting, they created “a dramatic sci-fi world where a weird automated transit system is augmented with external and often extreme natural phenomena.”

Raising and lowering platforms provide unusual viewpoints. and the scissor lifts themselves are incorporated in the set design. Take a look behind the scenes at the warehouse location:

More images behind the scenes, including the construction of the mirrored boxes, from set builders Cloud & Horse here. Behind the scenes pictures by Alex Davenport.

The final images were published in Wallpaper magazine:

And you can see the whole series here:
Perfect Storm with Thomas Brown on recomfarmhouse.com

Perfect Storm with Thomas Brown on Behance

Project:  Wallpaper / Thomas Brown  Client:  Wallpaper Magazine  Photographer:  Thomas Brown  Photographer’s Agent:  Webber Represents  Set Designer:  Matt Morris  Post Artist: Nuria Segura

Client: Wallpaper
Photographer: Thomas Brown  
Photographer’s Agent: Webber Represents  
Set Designer: Matt Morris
Set Build: Cloud and Horse
Projectionist: Insight Lighting  
Post Artists: Aljaz Bezjak / Maria Luisa Calosso / Recom Farmhouse  

Recom Farmhouse is on InstagramFacebookVimeo and Twitter!   More work at recomfarmhouse.com.   Fresh work showcased every month in our newsletter – see examples and sign up here.

Making Of: BMW with Alessandra Kila – CGI

“The ethereal elements of light, colour and haze transmit feelings and emotions. This has been a great project to experiment with the translation of these emotions from the normally more sterile environment of CGI” – Alessandra Kila

The artist brings her unique creative vision to the new BMW 7 series, in a campaign driven by light. Inspired by exhibition spaces where light interacts with installations to become part of the work, she intersected the sculptural forms of the car with the angular shapes of sharply cut sunbeams, laser curtains and light screens – innovative imagery to reveal the lines of a visionary vehicle.

Originally developed from a creative partnership with the BMW design department, Recom Farmhouse London collaborated intensively with the artist to realise her vision in pure CGI.

Simulating light in volumetric space is challenging enough, and quick previewing of iterations fast enough as to not inhibit the creative process raises further issues. In order to deliver such ambitious images, we developed an intricate technical framework within the CGI software. This custom lighting rig can abstract the visual effect of using a fully physical lighting simulation, but render in a fraction of the time, allowing creative freedom and experimentation. For the final rendering we used the fully physical lighting model for accuracy and photorealism. Take a look behind the scenes here:

[vimeo 330463643 w=640 h=360]

The team called on Alessandra’s strong experience with still life art photography to set up varied and subtle lighting for depth and believability in the car and environment. A myriad of tiny details, such as effects of bleeding and darkening, give a natural look, along with elements of photographed neon tubes and illuminated screens. Further lighting directed the balance of warmth and cold in the images.

To create the required atmosphere, she drew on her ongoing exploration of the use of haze to soften light. Here, the haziness carries the light and colour that are central to the project.

BMW / Full CGI Client: BMW Creative Supervision BMW: Florian Hartmann, Julia Obermeier Concept & Art Direction: Alessandra Kila CGI Artist: Kristian Turner, Carlos Pecino, Anna Toropova Post Artist: Pepê Alram, Kate Brown, Riikka Eiro, Maria Luisa Calosso

We introduced dust to give a liquid silkiness to the light. Algorithms that mimic the movement of particles create a heightened atmosphere of dusty air moving in warm light.

Colour was a vital part of this project so the post artists hand tinted the lightwaves being carried through the haze in tonalities of greens, aqua and gold. By literally mixing the colours directly with their virtual paint brushes, they painted the light with the colours of the campaign.

As the car slices through angled laser beams and sheets of pouring light, there’s a tactile and almost synaesthetic quality to the images. The interior shots in particular are hugely innovative: re-imagined as a magical space where anything could happen, and brought to life with light beaming in.

See the full series here on our site and on Behance:

BMW / Full CGI Client: BMW Creative Supervision BMW: Florian Hartmann, Julia Obermeier Concept & Art Direction: Alessandra Kila CGI Artist: Kristian Turner, Carlos Pecino, Anna Toropova Post Artist: Pepê Alram, Kate Brown, Riikka Eiro, Maria Luisa Calosso

Client: BMW
Creative Supervision BMW: Florian Hartmann
Creative Direction BMW Group Design: Julia Obermeyer
Concept & Art Direction: Alessandra Kila
CGI Artists: Kristian Turner, Carlos Pecino, Anna Toropova / Recom Farmhouse
Post Artists: Pepê Alram, Kate Brown, Riikka Eiro, Maria Luisa Calosso / Recom Farmhouse

On Location: Volvo with Tomek Olszowski

This cinematic series gives a new slant to the dramatic play of sunlight in a big city, with strong transitions to long edgy shadows. 

Against a backdrop of heritage architecture in Warsaw,  the sleek modern neutrals of the car set the scene for its driver – a bold and stylish redheaded individualist. 

Recom Farmhouse London collaborated with the photographer to intensify the film noir ambiance. A strong duotone palette led by the rich orange and deep greens of the model infuses with subtler tones into the car and background. 

On location in Warsaw, Tomek scouted for locations with interesting light and shadow, no matter how awkward!

Observing the position of the sun, he planned the shoot over time, looking for places where dynamic lines throw the shapes into sharp relief.

For the car, a neutral coloured Volvo was a perfect choice, fitting the overall vision of elegant and modern style with the feeling of heritage in the background.

Amongst the redheaded models cast, Natalia instantly stood out for this shoot, with her striking colouring, purposeful attitude and insouciant style.

Her pierced nose  adds a hint of rebelliousness, and Dorota styled her with a gorgeous series of ensembles in green to lay the natural foundations for the palette, to be developed later in post-production.

In discussions with the team in Recom Farmhouse’s London studio, the decision was to evolve these original colours with cooler notes in the darker tones and a strong overall combination of rich warm oranges and deep cool greens.

Post-production also emphasised the strong transitions between shadows and light.

“Being such a noir narrative, we thought that being kinda duotone could be quite fitting. Also, when properly worked on, I think the carpaint could really “sing” with some cyan/green”. – Pepê / Recom Farmhouse London 

Enjoy the strong shapes and subtle tone combinations of this series here:

See the whole series on Behance here

Photography: Tomek Olszowski
Production: Piotr Stefański
Model: Natalia Michalewska
Stylist: Dorota Magdziarz
Make up & Hair: Magda Gontarczuk
Assist: Dominik Nowak, Adam Gocel, Tomasz Kret
Post Artist: Pepê Alram

Making Of: Flooding of the Tate 1928 with Julia Fullerton-Batten

Julia Fullerton-Batten has been working on an ongoing series called “Old Father Thames  “…choosing, investigating and photographing a selection of cultural and historical narratives from along its banks.”

For this particular image, she asked us to flood the Tate with water.

“My image captures the aftermath of the flood in the Tate Gallery when a massive wet painting was carried by a group of porters to safety…Miraculously, despite their immersion in muddy Thames water for several hours, only eighteen paintings were damaged beyond repair.”

Here’s a photo of the original event from 1928:

Tate Flood real photo

Our retouchers Riikka Eiro and Maria Calosso joined the photographer on set at the Tate Britain (which was only available at night) to see what would need to be done, to absorb the feeling and lighting of the room, and to take the thousands of photos to produce an accurate photoscan. This would be used for the reflections of the water, as a very high level of verisimilitude would be vital to conveying the shock of seeing such an iconic room flooded.

Take a look behind the scenes of the shoot in Julia’s film:

The CGI and retouching had to be worked on simultaneously, as the image had to be composited and graded before the water was added, to allow for accuracy in the reflections and adjustments for the overall look.

We modelled a simplified interior of the room from our photoscans and then camera matched so that the distance and perspective we would use for the water would match the rest of the image as we were compositing.  Kristian Turner, head of CGI, worked out the angles within a simplified geometry of the room, and then used that as a camera to project the reflections of this into the water.

Next, we made a basic geometry so that we had the depth in areas where the people intersected with the water. The rest of the bodies were only needed in 2d, for reflections, composited as ‘cards’.

To create the height and pattern of  waves created by the people moving in a room,  we searched for reference on the internet – news photos of floods were a good source. We looked at the way that water moves inside a building and also at what happens when people interact with the water – how their movement as they slosh around inside a room creates ripples and turbulence. It’s possible to map exactly how this would actually look via simulation – but we needed greater artistic control for the right effect.

It’s of huge importance to this project as a body of work that the water is believable as being from the Thames. We used volumetric rendering – normally used for mist and smoke – to add opacity in a realistic way, working with reference photos and our own observations of the river.  In reality the water would have had much more debris. For the image it was important that it retained a river-water look, and that the parquet floor, so familiar to visitors of the Tate, was visible faintly below the water, distorted by the ripples.

Each person’s interaction with the water was individually mapped, such as the movement of the water around their legs. Wet splashes on their clothes were added with retouching.

The shoot was actually done at night, so we added daylight to the room. The figures were all shot with a softbox flash, and we softened them further for a painterly feel. With painstaking care, we removed all signs of modernity in the room – light switches, alarms, cables and so on, and carefully fine-tuned the colours in the image to reflect the volume of muddy water in the room.

See how we did it stage by stage here:

Final image here:

 

The final, graded image reflects all the hard work…when the Tate posted it on their Twitter feed on a rainy day, people asked if it was a real picture. We’ll take the compliment 🙂

The project has been featured in many publications including Creative Review,  The Eye of Photography and The Association of Photographers , and the series will be shown in Barcelona later this year as part of the 5th Biennale of Fine Art & Documentary Photography.

See it on Behance here

And on Our site here:

 

Credits:
Photographer: 
Julia Fullerton-Batten

Photoshoot Team:
Digital Operator: Gideon Marshall
Assistants: Sebastian Niespialowski, Ken Street, Jason Lewis
Work Experience: Matt Darlington, Jo Cock, Jamie Buckle
Models: Alan Byrch, David Newton, Martin Reines, John Lauri, Paul Orchard, Frank Gordon, Peter Charlton, Christophe Philipps
Stylist: Graham Cruz

Post-Production Team
CGI Artist: Kristian Turner / Recom Farmhouse London
Post Artist:  Riikka Eiro / Recom Farmhouse London
On-set support: Maria Luisa Calosso & Riikka Eiro / Recom Farmhouse London

 

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