October 02, 2020

Vittel and Mikros MPC Partnered to Create Breathtaking CGI Menagerie and Environment

Campaign for a new ecological commitment selected by Stash Magazine to become part of its permanent collection of world’s most exceptional animation and VFX.

Globally renowned, natural spring mineral water Vittel’s newest campaign strengthens its commitment to environmental protection – while staying true to its tagline, “A Water that is Full of Life.” Technicolor’s Mikros MPC were trusted along with Ogilvy to bring this entertaining and important campaign to life, complete with photo-realistic CGI woodlands full of animated squirrels, bees, frogs, ladybugs, butterflies, dragonflies and caterpillars. The campaign has been broadcast on television, online video and in print press format, depending on country.

A visually compelling work, the campaign has been selected by Stash Magazine to become part of its permanent collection of the world’s largest online video library of exceptional design, animation, VFX and motion projects. For studios, agencies, broadcasters, brands, schools – and independent creatives in over 40 countries – The Stash Permanent Collection provides instant, streaming access to the projects and talent powering the future of motion design, visual effects, and animation.

“This campaign differentiates by creating a surprising and refreshing impact across a number of scenes,” explained Guillaume Ho, VFX Supervisor at Mikros MPC. “Each movie begins with woodland animals within their natural environment and transforms in pace and impact – demonstrating the animals have a surprising sporting prowess – before returning back to nature.”

Mikros MPC partnered on the conceptualization, with teams completing intensive research for the characters and the environment to match the lush Vosges wildlife and flora where Vittel water is naturally sourced. Mikros MPC developed the previz, which proved crucial in enabling director Vincent Lobelle to choose camera positions and lens focus, plan the character animation, design the setting, and edit the three ads which make up the campaign.

“My approach to this project was the same as on a traditional movie in terms of research on ideas and shots until the start of the previz, which was a real luxury. When you work on a live movie, once the scene is shot, you cannot modify it. Whereas in full CG, you can still adapt your initial choices and you can really see the ever-improving versions over time,” commented Lobelle.

“One of our major challenges was to work on three ads. We not only had to manage a very large number of assets and animals, but we had to make sure that we would meet a consistent technical and artistic style and quality on all the ads,” said Guillaume Dadaglio, Mikros MPC’s CG Supervisor.

A total of 34 full CG scenes were created for the movies, with varying camera angles and settings from macro to micro. This required a large number of assets: the starting scene alone features over 15,000 trees, with over 100 million particles to create the water – a huge artistic challenge working on both vast expansive scales as well as close-up focus. The full CG scenes entailed a high level of detail on the animated characters, plants and water, with refined lighting and color to bring the mood of the morning light.

The technical challenge of the project was met by a vast range of Mikros MPV tools to build the assets and create the final render, alongside a complex pipeline which helped to deliver the project. This enabled the team to deliver up to 300 versions per scene, which aided collaboration amongst the artists and allowed fast responses from the production team – even while working remotely under lockdown.

“I think this project will remain long in our minds, as much was developed remotely during the COVID-19 lockdown period,” said Ho. “Over 70% of the animation was completed by the teams working remotely. Given the new system of working, we are all particularly proud to have reached such a high level of quality ahead of the delivery date. We only achieved this thanks to our technology structure, pipeline and technical teams, which allowed us all to work efficiently from home – and also thanks to the artists who worked in unison. Despite the distance, we all managed to maintain both communication and cohesiveness for a stellar result.”

Read the full story of Mikros MPC’s work and hear from other artists on its many aspects here – and check out Diversity of a Project, the first episode of Team Talks on the Vittel campaign.