|Issue: February 1, 2008
CHARLEX MODELS FOR VERIZON
|NEW YORK – Charlex’s executive creative director Alex Weil describes the star character in Verizon’s Thoughtful spot as a "mountain dwelling, flame throwing, samurai, jihadist gorilla with a Romanesque codpiece."
McCann Erickson creatives came to the studio with an initial
Photoshop illustration of what they wanted the fierce creature to look
like. Weil and character designer Todd Winter designed the gorilla to
be realistic, but not so detailed that it couldn't be effectively
animated and rendered.
The agency mandate was to make the gorilla look as much as possible
like a character that had just stepped out of a videogame, which uses
normal mapping. Modeling supervisor Alex Cheparev first asked for an
un-costumed sketch of the gorilla to work from and started the modeling
process using real life gorilla references.
Cheparev used Maya to create a rough, low-rez model of the gorilla and
then brought that into Mudbox, allowing him a more hands on approach to
what would otherwise be very dense geometry. This also enabled him to
achieve detail resembling a high-rez model using texture maps.
He then worked from a rough sketch and reference pictures to make the
gorilla's Roman-looking armor, Viking helmet and flame throwers,
using standard rigid poly modeling. The hands and face had to be done
References of actual gorilla teeth were used to help create the
character's jaw. The character’s cape was created using Maya’s NCloth
Charlex (www.charlex.com) lighters came in at the end to add detail and
create the look of a battle-hardened warrior. The metallic armor
remained shiny but showed signs of aging and definite wear and tear.
Supply & Demand produced the spot with Greg Popp directing. Aaron
Langley at Cosmo Street edited the project, which features
original music from Face the Music. Headroom handled audio post and The
Mill provided telecine services.