Artist owned-and-operated bi-coastal effects boutique Brickyard VFX recently created CG cars that appear alongside live-action counterparts and added graphics to other live action cars in a new NASCAR-themed ad campaign for Toyota Racing that spans TV, print and the web.
Titled â€œSponsafier,â€? the campaign invites NASCAR fans to get involved with the season and drivers by â€˜sponsifyingâ€™ a Toyota Racing car. A series of three hilarious :30 TV spots (and one :60 combined version) introduces the concept and drives fans to the ToyotarRacing.com website, where they can design a custom skin for the race-version Toyota Camry that could earn them a trip to a NASCAR all-star race.
The spots show â€˜sponsifyingâ€™ in action, with ordinary fans â€” a kitten-loving little girl, a love-struck teenage boy, and a role-playing video gamer â€” designing their own Toyota racecars that real NASCAR drivers have to pilot. Viewers watch poor Kyle Bush, dolled up in a pink suit adorned with fluffy kitties, racing his ridiculous pink car around a stadium track surrounded by traditional-looking cars. Joey Logano suffers a similar fate, driving a dragon/warlock themed racecar while dressed as a medieval knight. Denny Hamlin actually seems slightly enthusiastic about his sponsor as he jockeys for position on the track in his â€˜love carâ€™ dedicated to an adolescentâ€™s crush on his fantasy girl, Amanda.
Brickyard created CG versions of each of the hero cars, complete with high-resolution texture maps, using photos, HDRI and lighting data from the shoot to match lighting and details. They also created additional cars (Little Debbie, Window World and NAPA) and integrated them all in to the spots to augment the racing scenes and add camera angles and turntables that helped to sell the stories.
â€œThree cars on a racetrack isnâ€™t much of a race,â€? said Brickyard lead 3D artist David Blumenfeld. â€œWhen we added CG cars around to make the race more competitive.â€?
The stadium shots presented a particular challenge in tracking, Blumenfeld said. â€œNASCAR races with speeds approaching 200mph, are shot from cameras alongside the track. They pan on a banked track and do a tremendous amount of zooming, which flattens the entire field. That makes it challenging to use tracking software. Also, replicating the shots without having information on the lens or the size of the stadium was a challenge. We did most of the tracking was finessed above the level of automatic tracking software capabilities.â€?
â€œThe objective was obviously to make the cars look completely realistic so that the viewer canâ€™t identify the fake cars on the racetrack. We separately had to create a more stylized car for the end tag,â€? said Carl Harders, Lead CG Artist. â€œTo achieve these looks required two separate lighting setups, one that was like a traditional studio and one that was taken from environment of a race track. Since they were created after the shoot, we created the elements and HDRI we needed to match reflections that best suited the situation.â€?
Brickyard also created computer-based lighting to match the exact conditions on the track, including reflections of the stadium environment passing over the tops of the CG cars. The studio used Maya and Renderman to create, light and render the CG elements for Toyota. The client was ecstatic with the car assets that Brickyard created are also used in the ToyotaRacing.com â€œSponsafierâ€? feature and gallery, and were rendered out in high resolution for use in the print campaign.
About Brickyard VFX
Located in Boston and Santa Monica, Brickyard VFX is an independent visual effects boutique specializing in top quality visual effects from 3D characters through to compositing. Artist owned and operated, the company was founded in 1999 to bring clients a level of customer service, craftsmanship and focus difficult to find at facilities today. Brickyardâ€™s creative expertise on set and in the studio has been applied to model, animate, light, texture, track, color correct and render seamless digital effects for Pontiac, Bud Light, T-Mobile, NBA, Visa, Sprint and many other accounts. For more information, please call Brickyard VFX Pacific at (310) 453-5722, Brickyard VFX Atlantic at (617) 262-3220, or visit
1st BROADCAST LOCATION: USA
ADVERTISING AGENCY: Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles
Creative Director: Andrew Christou
Executive Creative Director: Mike McKay
Art Director: Rick Ardito / Nick Luckett
Agency Producer: Jennifer Vogtmann
Copywriter: Grant Smith / Eric Burnett
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Epoch Films
Director: Matt Aselton
Producer: Marc Marrie
Post Production/VFX: Brickyard VFX, Santa Monica
Head of Production: Diana Young
Visual Effects Producer: Carla Attanasio
Lead 2D Artist: Patrick Poulatian
Lead 3D Artist: David Blumenfeld
2D Artists: Mandy Sorenson, Chris Sonia
3D Artists: Dan Gutierrez, Carl Harders, Drew Daleo
Editorial: Cosmo Street
Editor: Tom Scherma
Audio Post: Lime Studios
Mixer: Loren Silber
Sound Design: 740 Sound
Designer: Eddie Kim