July 8, 2008

PFL Contributes 16,000 CGI Assets for New Volkswagen Web Site

There are big projects, and then there are mammoth projects -- and this one falls firmly into the latter category. Prime Focus London has delivered an astonishing 16,000 individual CGI assets, which have been used by digital agency Tribal DDB in the build of the new Volkswagen UK Web Site. 
The project started with Tribal DDB, and its vision of allowing customers of Volkswagen's site to select and view 17 different Volkswagen models, and then to specify each model with all of its available variations -- including trim, paint color, interiors, wheels, light clusters, sunroofs, CD changers, parking sensors, and every other conceivable option, all the way down to the gear knob. 
Tribal's brief to PFL was to create completely accurate CGI models of the Volkswagen car range and of each model's componentry, allowing Tribal's Flash Web site engine to call the correct elements depending on the selections made by the user, and build a car model for the user to view and explore. 
In the absence of CAD data, PFL's first task was to arrange and supervise the physical scanning of the 17 Volkswagen car models in order to create a generic CGI base model for each type of car from which to develop the many variant trims (eg. S, SE, Sport, Match etc). PFL used specialist Artem to scan the car models, and during the scanning process PFL took high-res photographs of the cars from every conceivable angle to help ensure the accuracy of the models they created. Paint and fabric swatches supplied by Volkswagen were then used by the lighting and texturing teams to ensure exact matches for the various colourpaint finishes and interior detailing, and physical parts such as alloys, light clusters, and badges began arriving at PFL HQ, to allow the modelers to check the accuracy of their work against the real thing. 
A project of this scale requires careful production management and a tight pipeline. PFL worked very closely with Tribal DDB to develop file structures, naming conventions, and delivery format specifications to ensure that each of those individual 16,000 assets was delivered in the correct way, at the correct time, named correctly, and fully QC'd. 
It was important to ensure not just the technical accuracy of the assets created, as demanded by Tribal and Volkswagen, but also to fulfill the clients' stylistic requirements. Given the strength of PFL'scommercials and feature film background, making the models also look good wasn't too much of a problem. The final consideration was that all assets were built with a view to their future use -- both in the next stage of the development of the Web site and for other anticipated future uses. This future proofing included consideration for the future updating of the car models by the manufacturer. 
As challenging in its own way as a feature film project, this project was also as rewarding. The end result -- the strength of Tribal's Web site for Volkswagen -- really speaks for itself.   
Project Title: www.volkswagen.co.uk
Genre: CGI for Website
Digital Agency: Tribal DDB
Project Director: Tim Ball 
CGI: Prime Focus London
CGI Producer: Sharon McCain, Anandi Peiris
CGI Supervision: Adam Seeley
Lead 3D: Andi Farhall, Olly Nash, Ian Baxter, Neil Coleman, Sara Diaz, Jonathan "JD" Davies, Cristobal Infante, Julie Goacher