BENT Serves Up Photoreal Food
September 25, 2014

BENT Serves Up Photoreal Food

Portland, OR - BENT image lab fires up the imagination with a seamless weave of ultra-realistic CG animation, photogrammetry and gorgeous live-action for Raley's "Eating Seasons" campaign.

Working hand-in-hand with agency Ivie & Associates and the folks at Raley's Family of Fine Stores, BENT Partner David Daniels directs the four spots celebrating every season of the year.

The commercials, "Holiday", "Spring", "Summer" and "Fall," are live-action "stories" of Raley's patrons and associates bookending beautiful CG food shots centered in the middle of each spot. The catchy "boom-cha" beat of The Zombies tune "Time of the Season" interweaves through each spot as delicious, photo-real foods swirl into camera, “edible lava lamp style.” Kaleidoscopic images explode in slow motion water, juice, creams or marinades, designed and built to entice the viewer’s taste-budded imagination. 

Daniels employed various techniques to create each individual spot including straight CG animation and photogrammetry. In "Fall", the last spot in the campaign, BENT Europe's Creative Director, Javier Leon, served as CG Supervisor. Using photogrammetry to produce the autumn-themed fruit and vegetables, the team sliced and stitched together shots from fifty to sixty angles of food, creating geometry and surfaces for each element. Lead artist and technical director, Galen Beals, based out of BENT Portland, tweaked final animation and blended water simulations (SIMs) with photo real pears and apples. 

In "Holiday", Portland-based Joshua Cox designed the pie surface, cranberries and popcorn with caramel liquid, and was lead artist creating the difficult surface and viscosity of CG whip cream using Real Flow.  Leon was lead artist on the gingerbread sequence using photogrammetry elements, and the top-down animated Christmas tree utilizing 3D Studio Max. 

In "Spring" the theme was fresh-growing fruits and veggies enhanced by slow motion SIM-water and created entirely in CG animation. “Joshua chose the most wicked-perfect pink/purple background color to pop the fruits and vegetables,” says Daniels. Cox was co-director on this spot.

"Summer", was creatively led by Leon using even more photogrammetry (shooting 360's on Canon Rebel T3I's) and traditional CG animation techniques. Summer is grilling season, so Leon lit the vast assortment of skewer-ready food with orange and hot red bottom light against a sky blue cloud-white background.  “It came out inspired as if by the romantic humanism of a Baroque painter,” remarks Daniels. 

"There are certain objects and shots where just photographing really great food and completely mapping the hell out of it works better then anything else," says Daniels. We study every aspect, and then make a dense model taking great care with shaders to bring forth realistic intricate textures and surfaces."

Sarah Serata produced the complicated animation elements, which included the multiple CG components and the post finish while Andrew Harvey produced the live action production plates. 

The food is impressive in its authenticity -- "These spots are spiritually uplifting and beautiful, a testament to David and his eye for visual motion and surface perfection," says BENT Executive Producer Ray Di Carlo. “BENT has traditionally been known for creating unforgettable characters, now I believe we will be known for creating unforgettable foods."

Ivie and Raley's had tapped BENT and Daniels the last few years to produce their holiday spots. Daniels loves working with great creatives and old friends because of the wonderful collaborative relationships that have naturally developed over the years. "It's a testament to Raley's and the imagination of Ivie to say: Let's not do ordinary, let's stand out," states Daniels. "Let's seduce viewers. Let’s reward them with a message gift-wrapped with love and respect for the audience. I think that fits Raley's business philosophy.  They are a special store with engaged people who adore and appreciate great food.  They love sharing that adventure with me, with you, and with the world."