From Donuts to Insects, Post Asylum/Element X Delivers CG Realism
July 9, 2020

From Donuts to Insects, Post Asylum/Element X Delivers CG Realism

Post Asylum/Element X has been helping agency clients pivot to animation with live-action production limited due to COVID-19. Two new FedEx Office spots for Dallas-based Integer showcase CGI donut shop and café environments. Another spot for NewYork-based Stanley Marketing Works features a photorealistic cockroach that meets its demise thanks to Zevo bug spray.
“Like everyone else, this spring we saw our turnkey production projects come to a screeching halt. But with our full service animation studio, we’re in a position to help clients turn to CGI-based creative solutions,” said Graham Hagood, PA/EX Executive Producer. “Our original plan was to shoot these two FedEx Office spots before the lockdown. Thankfully, the talented creative team at Integer was open to exploring a fully animated execution.”

Integer Creative Director Jeff Richey notes, “As we were modifying the concepts to
better reflect the new realities that small business owners are facing, Post Asylum/Element X helped us pitch the photorealistic animation idea to our client with some strong example work.” Once the decision was made to go with animation and the boards were approved, both spots, “Donut” and “Café,” were created and delivered in about three weeks. “We were even able to make some scene revisions to accommodate a last minute client logo layout request. That just wouldn’t have been possible if we had filmed it,” comments Richey.

Stanley Marketing Works selected PA/EX to help develop and animate a photorealistic cockroach for Zevo, a natural insect spray safe around people and pets. “The key to this spot was making sure the roach appears 100% believable in both look and movement,” said SMW President Jordan Stanley. “I sent NatGeo style macro roach footage for reference, and I was blown away at what Chad and the animation team were able to achieve. Looking at the roach footage and animation side by side, you can’t tell which one is CGI.”

Chad Briggs, PA/EX Executive Creative Director, notes, “Dialing in photorealism is always preceded by a lot of fun research on the subject matter at hand. In this case, digging into the nuances of roaches and pastries at the same time was definitely a little disorienting. With both projects, our goal is that the viewer never knows what is and isn’t ‘real’. Our Maya/Nuke/Redshift pipeline made pretty short work of iterating through all the 3D assets, and we brought everything together with Premiere, After Effects, and Resolve. Having the Redshift render farm locally allowed us to quickly churn out the heavy photo real scenes with time to spare for trying out alternate takes." “We are very excited to return to live-action production with safety protocols,” says Hagood. “But one silver lining is that more clients have seen the realism we can achieve with animation, even on quick turn spots. And in certain cases, it’s the most efficient and flexible way to tell the story.”

LINK to FedEx Office “Donut” and “Coffee” –
LINK to Zevo “Roach” –