Commercial Raises the Bar for CG Characters
April 3, 2018

Commercial Raises the Bar for CG Characters

It’s a television commercial that raised eyebrows (Can an ostrich really soar?) as well as a technology bar (Is it real or CG?).
And, the work garnered a number of awards for its technical achievements.

For the second year running, MPC’s global studio received triple VES wins across advertising categories; each award for stunning work on Leo Burnett’s Samsung “Ostrich,” directed by Matthijs Van Heijningen: for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial, Outstanding Animated Character in a Commercial, and Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Commercial.

MPC Life, MPC Advertising’s new character development team, completed the work for Samsung’s “Do What You Can’t’ spot. The ad, directed by MJZ director Matthijs Van Heijningen for Leo Burnett, gave MPC the opportunity to create a fully photoreal and anatomically correct ostrich – and give him his own quirky personality.

The ad promotes Samsung’s revolutionary VR technology and hopes to change consumers’ ideas on what is humanly possible via the strapline – “Do What You Can’t.” Opening with a curious ostrich stumbling into a VR headset, we see the character begin to dream of achieving the impossible. “We make what can’t be made so you can do what can’t be done,” Samsung proclaims as the ostrich reaches new heights.

A reference shoot involving several real ostriches took place in South Africa before the computer-generated counterpart was re-born via MPC London Creative Director Diarmid Harrison Murray and MPC LA Creative Director Michael Gregory and a global team of experts in LA, London, Paris, and Bangalore.

About the project, Gregory said, “It was a wonderful job to be involved in. It really did have it all – a great script starring an engaging character, all beautifully shot and integrated with stunning VFX and Matthijs in the mix.”

Murray added, “This was such an amazing project to have been involved in. It was beautifully directed and such a strong story. You could tell from the beginning that if we got it right, this could be a special film. A photoreal ostrich definitely ranks as one of the toughest CG creatures I've faced, bar none. Their feathers are insanely fluffy and dynamic, and not like any other bird we have created before. We completely upgraded our existing feather system to deal with these challenges. You know you are onto something when we you start freaking yourself out with the realism of your own renders!”

Mark Gethin, MPC’s US Creative Director of Color Grading, enhanced the ad with a beautiful atmospheric grade.

MPC Life is a new character and creature group within the MPC Advertising team. Its development follows many years of outstanding character and creature work culminating in the facility’s recent multi-award winning TV, V,R and social campaign for John Lewis “Buster the Boxer,” and its BAFTA and Oscar win for The Jungle Book.