Pixeldust team produced this unique integration of CGI test dummy heads referred to as TIMs and composited on top of footage of actors dressed as crash test dummies, displaying digitally created expressions on the CGI as the TIMs enjoyed the new theme park rides. Pixeldust fabricated this super detailed 3d test dummy helmet with many intricate facial expressions in Autodesk Maya. These helmets were then 3D printed and equipped with tracking markers and then worn by actors on-site. Then we replaced these 3D-printed practical helmets with CGI heads animated with expressions capturing the actor’s emotions and dialogue. Studying and capturing the actors’ expressions was critical as awesome thrills were this campaign video’s key selling factor. Pixeldust was honored to feature this commercial during the Superbowl 2022 and Olympics 2022!
Creative Direction: Ricardo Andrade / Paintbox Labs
CG/VFX Supervisor: Samar Shool
Senior Animator/Rigger: Andy Hencken
Senior Producer: Emily Vitek
Most initial and essential step for the PX team was to seamlessly 3d track the practical helmet heads using the power of Foundry Nuke 3d object tracking. Some more challenging shots with actors on roller coaster required micro tracking with additional set ups. PX was able to mirror the camera data inside Nuke for all plates and thus achieved an accurate match of 3d rendered helmets.
In addition to CGI integration, Pixeldust was tasked with animating lipsync of the TIM helmets as they voiced their reactions through the rides. PX used provided reference footage and some in-house reference videos of artists to capture the TIM’s priceless expressions. Having a robust facial rig with efficient controls was essential for this task. Our Animators did the final lipsync animation in Autodesk Maya.
RENDERING AND COMPOSITING
Special attention was given to lighting setups for the most accurate CGI integration into the footage. Pixeldust made efficient use of 360 HDRs captured on-site by our VFX Supervisor. Special rigs had to be built to capture 360 videos of the environment as the ride was in motion. The Pixeldust team would later use the 360 photographic data as image-based lighting for rendering the helmets with Redshift inside Maya. This pipeline was crucial to the photo-real compositing of helmets and helped seamlessly match the lights and reflections onto the 3D helmet.
Pixeldust’s choice of Maya renderer was GPU-based Redshift owing to its speed and lighting quality. The Pixeldust team finally composited all 3D Redshift rendered helmets back into Nuke on top of the original plates. For many years, our Team has chosen Nuke’s professional and robust compositing and tracking toolset for live-action CGI shots.