New Bees – DC goes behind the scenes with Polynoid

New Bees is one of the most captivating pieces of content we have posted this year which is why we were incredibly excited for the opportunity to go behind the scenes with Polynoid and discuss the work that went into this thought-provoking piece.

DIGITAL CANVAS:
To start, this is an amazingly clever, and quite sophisticated concept. What was your role in the initial phase of this project in terms of conceptualization and creation of the script.

Polynoid:
Alexander Kalchev from DDB Paris got in touch with us, bringing the original concept with him. They asked if we are interested in partnering up and bringing the piece to life. We agreed on acting as equal partners and we started developing the design for the bees and simultaneously developing a way to tell the story.

New Bees Polynoid - Concepts

Image Provided Courtesy of Polynoid

 

DIGITAL CANVAS:
I really love the warm art direction and abundant sunlight throughout the piece. Which camera did you choose to shoot the live action with? Was it a complicated shoot, about how many days did it take to get what you needed?

Polynoid:
The live action was shot on a RED ONE in just one long, but fun, day. It was a really small shoot with just four people on set. Basically we just spent all day in the field filming all the shots we needed. Funny thing was that it was one of the hottest days of the year with almost 40 degrees celsius and we were quite exhausted after a dull day in the sun. Generally, timing on the shoot was very relaxed. The only moment a bit hectic was filming the kids in the subset because we just had around an hour of the right light.

New Bees Polynoid - Shoot

Image Provided Courtesy of Polynoid

 

DIGITAL CANVAS:
What was your process for building the robot bees? Did you create one, and re-use the model throughout the animation?

Polynoid:
The first step was to create sketches with various robotic styles. After finding a suitable direction, this was built upon with drawing variations of heads, legs, and mid- and tail-sections. Out of those elements a refined final design was developed and greenlit for a production. The next step was to build a base mesh in Softimage which then was transferred to ZBrush and shaping according to the concept design. For texturing/shading and rigging, the final sculpt was reimported into Softimage. One production model was created and reused throughout the entire clip.

 

DIGITAL CANVAS:
The bees are frighteningly life-like betweeen the modeling, texturing, and animation. What kind of research did you do on bees in order to get the animation and modeling, realistic and convincing? Did any part of this process raise any concerns along the way?

Polynoid:
Assuming you are talking about the hornet, we looked at many references we found online. We actually had some experience from previous projects on building realistic assets like that and we knew it just takes time to get it right – which we had enough of.

New Bees Polynoid - Hornet

Image Provided Courtesy of Polynoid

 

NewBeesPolynoid

Image Provided Courtesy of Polynoid

 

DIGITAL CANVAS:
Which programs did you use for the 3D? About how many polys was each model and how did you handle render times?

Polynoid:
We were using ZBrush and Softimate to model, MAri for textures and Arnold for render. Not sure how many polys we had but I don’t think there were many. Arnold can actually handle, lots of Polys, so typically, we don’t have problems regarding render performance.

 

DIGITAL CANVAS:
I am sure there must have been an extensive amount of work marrying the live action and 3D together, which leads me to my next question of, what programs were used for the compositing?

Polynoid:
We do all of our comp work in Nuke and besides the camera tracking for some shots, it was a pretty straightforward process. The key was making the CG look not too perfect, so it could blend together nicely with the footage.

 

Posted by: dceditors