SWAY Studio Revs up Robots for New Hyundai Commercial

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Los Angeles -- Sept. 20, 2006 -- A tribute to Hyundai‘s new facility in Alabama where over 300 robots touch the car as it goes through production; SWAY Studio brings energy, precision, dance and music to astonishing levels in the new Hyundai Santa Fe commercial. SWAY Studio‘s talented character animators unite the performance of a professionally choreographed live dance team with 362 computer generated (CG) robots to produce a truly unique commercial that evokes the spirit of a live marching band while cleverly generating excitement for the launch of a new car and production plant. The :30 spot started airing nationwide on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2006.

“SWAY specializes in taking ideas that would be too restrictive if done in a strictly live-action environment and transforming them into photorealistic 3D, which is one of the reasons why we were eager to work on such an interesting spot,” said John Allardice, director at SWAY Studio. “From the concept to the movement and execution, the Hyundai Santa Fe spot involved working with many detailed and precise elements in order to produce 362 perfectly choreographed dancing robots. It was an interesting challenge and we are thrilled with the end result.”

SWAY started with a live action performance that involved a professionally choreographed dance team. Each member specialized in a particular dance style, including hip-hop, krump and vogueing. Due to the fast-paced routine and individual subtleties of the dancers, SWAY decided not to use motion capture to produce the animation. Instead, SWAY shot the dancers with multiple high-definition cameras, both at normal speed and in slow motion, to fully capture the details and intricacies of their movements. For the commercial, the dancers‘ movements were interpreted by SWAY‘s character animation team to develop the movements for the CG robots.

"In this case, we decided against straight motion capture as the various models of robots had different numbers of arms and legs than the dancers," continues Allardice. "What we wanted was an interpretation of the dancers‘ routines, rather than a straight recording. The final performance of the robots is a blend of the dancers' skills and our character teams' inspiration."

SWAY utilized a variety of off-the-shelf and proprietary hardware and software to compete the spot. The most prominently used tools were 3ds Max® and Lightwave 3D® for animation, V-Ray for rendering, NUKE™ for compositing, and SCRATCH for color grading.

The Hyundai Santa Fe spot was directed by John Allardice and produced by Matt Winkel. To view a clip from the commercial, and download stills please visit



About SWAY Studio

SWAY Studio is one of the top visual effects shops in North America. SWAY‘s aim is to help advertising agencies eliminate traditional views of how their products are seen and enable creative teams to dream big -- if it can be imagined, SWAY can make it happen. There is no limit to what SWAY can accomplish in a photoreal world. The goal is to confuse the viewer into believing that everything is real with no thought about effects.

SWAY‘s proprietary software has been used to create stunning visual effects and spots for Chevy, Mazda, Pontiac, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai, Hummer, Jeep, Lexus, Toyota and Cadillac. The software replicates the performance of any vehicle with complete precision.

Currently located in Westwood, Calf., SWAY is moving its headquarters to Culver City. For additional information on SWAY Studio, visit its website at




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