With a reveal set for mid-February 2022, the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One team needed to create exciting visuals to introduce their latest race car, the AMR22. Their usual photography route was a no-go in this short timeline, so they turned to Taylor James to help them craft a CGI solution.
Tasked with building 10 beauty shots and a 60 second reveal video, Taylor James were able to respond and adapt quickly to last minute design changes and deliver on-time for their car launch event, with the help of Unreal Engine.
In this interview, LBB speaks to Taylor James head of CG - automotive, Matt Eley to find out how this project was delivered at super speed and how the team overcame the challenges of this exciting brief.
LBB> What was the initial brief from the client and what was your reaction?
Matt Eley> We were asked to create a 60 second teaser reveal and a series of stills for the launch of the AMR22 F1 car – it’s fair to say the reaction was a positive one. We were all thrilled to be invited to bid for the project and couldn’t wait to get involved!
LBB> Only 2 AMR22s exist in the world. In order to create the car, you had to work from a model. Can you walk us through the production process? What was the starting point?
Matt> Yes, and even the CAD data was in the development stages and wasn’t actually available to us for the first few weeks of the CG production. Fortunately, we were able to find a fairly decent stock model of the MY21 vehicle to kick off the animatic and angle study phase.
LBB> What were some of the crucial technical decisions?
Matt> Most notably using Unreal for production pipeline paid huge dividends down the line in speeding up the lighting and rendering process. We were also able to provide the client with animatics which were more progressed lighting wise than we would typically be able to with our traditional pipeline.
LBB> In collaboration with Crypto.com, an NFT collection featuring the car was created to celebrate the AMR22 which is a major feat for design. As we look to the future, do you believe that NFTs will take on more of a role in the industry?
Matt> I think the demand for these digital assets is only going to increase across creative industries. The fact we can create engaging CG content for the brands we work with puts us in a great position to add this to the offering.
LBB> The vivid colours, bright lighting, and contrasting shadows allowed the model car to come alive. How long did it take to achieve this look?
Matt> Hah, well I don’t want to give away our trade secrets but let’s just say we’ll put it down to firstly, the experience of the artists, and secondly to our adoption of new technologies such as Unreal that aid our production process.
LBB> During the CG animation process, what was the most difficult challenge you had to overcome?
Matt> With any CG animation process the challenge for an artist is always in overcoming the latency interacting with the scene and at the same time visualising the lighting. Unreal enabled us to solve both of these challenges. Not to mention producing the final renders in a fraction of the time of traditional renderers.
LBB> Did the final project exceed your expectations?
Matt> It really did. Very proud of the team working on each element of the project and pleased we were able to solve the critical problem for our client who didn’t at the time have a vehicle to shoot for the launch.
LBB> What were Sebastian Vettel and the fans’ reactions to the AMR22 reveal?
Matt> Well the YouTube comments board lit up with some great reactions when the car was revealed.
LBB> How did this project differ from many of the projects Taylor James has worked on previously? Is there anything you learned from this project that you will take with you going forward?
Matt> The ask is quite typical, however the exposure and prestige of working with Aston Martin and the Cognizant F1 team is definitely a rare opportunity we were delighted to be involved with. The key takeaway from this project is adopting a pipeline which allows us to adapt and respond to changes quickly.
LBB> What was your personal highlight from this project?
Matt> I think it has to be working on an incredible F1 car launch and brand such as Aston Martin. Looking forward to an invite to the launch on the next one ;)