Two bright red eyes dart out from the darkness. A creature, which appears to be a machine-animal hybrid, moves towards the man opposite at breakneck speed. A fast-paced drive through the center of Chicago at night begins. On behalf of tire manufacturer Apollo Tyres, Mackevision brings a panther motorbike to life in a commercial and cleverly showcases its tires.
Following a piglet called Lucky, a powerful wild panther for Apollo Tyres is now in Mackevision’s creature pipeline. The globally successful tire manufacturer wanted a commercial with a panther in the form of a motorbike to tie in with its #thrillupyourbeast hashtag. Mackevision’s VFX department created a commercial that will stay in people’s minds. As past masters in their field, the artists designed the machine-animal hybrid that the customer wanted.
Given the remit that the creature was not to resemble a custom bike too closely, the job was quite a challenge. Instead, the focus was on the actual product, the tire. Mackevision liaised closely with the Apollo Tyres team in India to come up with a suitable concept. Based on initial mood boards, they produced an impressive mix of a panther and motorbike that suggests power and emits an aura of wildness that can’t be tamed.
The creature’s design involved meticulous attention to detail. For instance, tiny holes were added to the panther motorbike’s fairway to represent the animal’s whiskers. It’s details like these that ultimately ensure the creature’s perceived as something credible.
While the centerpiece of the commercial was generated exclusively on the computer, the surroundings were filmed in the real world. The setting is the streets of Chicago, which have already served as a location for famous movies like The Dark Knight. Mackevision was also involved in this part of the project. Alongside JWT-India, Emanuel Fuchs and Rouven Dombrowski were on location on behalf of the Stuttgart-based VFX team to oversee the filming.
In these types of projects, it’s not just perfectionism in the creature design that’s vital. The surroundings and the light have to be perfect too. To achieve this goal, a dummy motorbike combined with a 360° camera was used during filming.
While the motorbike sped through the streets of Chicago, the 360° camera fitted to it captured the reflections that occurred. These acted as points of reference for the motorbike designed on the computer later on.
The finished commercial impressively showcased the tires made by Apollo Tyres and it isn’t just the passersby in the ad who are amazed. From rubber flaking off to the smoke when the tires burn, every detail’s realistic. In order to come up with an appealing overall look, Mackevision edited all the scenes in the commercial. As the color palette was very limited, the colors of lots of the footage had to be adapted afterwards. Even small things like signs, steam or certain incidences of light had to be removed to deliver a consistent look.
Behind the scenes, it was the test of the Mackevision creature pipeline that proved exciting in mechanical terms. The pipeline had been started shortly before for piglet Lucky in the PETA case and was used a second time for the Apollo ad. So, the purpose of this project was to find out whether the pipeline would also work in areas such as hard surface creatures.
The final result clearly shows that the test was a full success. In addition to creatures like the panther motorbike, Mackevision’s visual effects team creates even more exciting images. Examples include digital settings (matte paintings), crowd replications and difficult simulations like water.
Customer: Apollo Tyres
Service production: In & Out Productions
Production team: Mandeep Singh, Girish Kant Singh
Direction: Andreas Bruns
Camera: Roland Stuprich
Sound design: German Wahnsinn
VFX producer: Francesco Faranna
VFX supervisor: Christian Zilliken
VFX supervisor: Emmanuel Fuchs
Animation supervisor: Bernd Nalbach
CG lead: David Anastacio
Compositing lead: Julian Körrenz
Executive producer: Heiko Burkardsmaier
VFX coordination: Paul Maresch
VFX coordination: Iggy Rau
Consultant supervisor: Juri Stanossek
VFX set supervision: Rouven Dombrowski, Emanuel Fuchs
VFX art direction: Adam Wesierski
VFX editorial/grading: Tobias Pfeiffer
VFX editorial: Jörg Wohnsiedler
Pipeline developer: Axel Mähler
Pipeline developer: Henry Weickert
Matchmove: Johannes Weiss
3D artist: Georgios Mouroussidis
3D artist: Dominic Tiedeken
3D artist: Sebastian Plank
3D artist: Stefan Hähnlein
3D artist: Noel Winzen
3D artist: Dorian Knapp
3D artist: Daniel Klos
3D artist: Florian Friedmann
3D artist: Matthias Heimgärtner
Compositing: Lukas Fabian
Compositing: Mauricio Oliveira
Compositing: Gus Martinez
Compositing: Peter Lames
Illustrator: Felix Flad
Colorist: Peter Hacker