ARTIST VIEWPOINTS: HOW CORTEVA'S LATEST CG JOURNEY THROUGH SPACE, HISTORY AND TIME CAME TOGETHER
Psyop directors Marie + Marco take viewers on a visual teleport around the world and across cultures in the latest film for Corteva Agriscience. Working with Corteva’s advertising partner Ogilvy & Mather, the film’s core story puts a magnifying glass on how farming, by nourishing our bodies, propels societal progress.
Created in exquisitely detailed CG, the film jumps through space and time with a fluid freedom that’s unique to animation. However, freedom never comes without costs, and with Corteva that meant intense, technical and creative problem solving at every stage as Psyop’s post artists found themselves in a race against time to launch the film at the NYSE when Corteva officially announced their IPO.
The scale of this project was really ambitious,” recalls lighting artists Thao Dan Nguyen Phan and Anne Yang, “We had so many assets to create in such a short amount of time and with shots going from wide to close up, we had to render all the textures in super high res with some shots having hundreds of items within them.”
Another creative challenge became clear during early animation was that the original static storyboards, didn’t come close to conveying the amount of actual shots needed to cover the sweeping camera moves that kept the film in perpetual transitioning movement - a visual conceit that conceptually pays off Corteva’s tagline “Keep Growing” and the core story of farming’s place the evolution of our world.
Like a live action director covers off wide, medium and close up shots, the Psyop post team, did the same - by creating for every creative eventuality. “Every single character you see in the film, you can zoom into and see them down to their eyelashes, or their arm hairs just to make sure we’re covered for whatever camera move is needed,” explains Briana Franceschini, Technical Director.
Before production, the post artists were also given a detailed inspiration deck that helped guide them throughout the process with a bit of ingenuity and rapid prototyping thrown in along the way. “We had a nice specific selection of reference photos we could use for comp to get the light and colors in the direction of choice,” recalls Matthias Bauerle, Lead Compositor, “Marco also liked the unique look of anamorphic lenses. So we tried to mimic that on top of the CG renders. We watched a lot of test footage on how the real lenses react visually and then I rebuilt it as a little tool for all the compositors to use.”
The team also came up with other unique solves to the production including bringing in matte painters at the onset and also deliberately blurring the lines between post artist roles. “Lighters, for example, were given entire scenes to create - where traditionally they’d be paired up with layout artists. I don’t know how we would have gotten it all done if we hadn’t all stretched outside our boundaries a bit,” recalls Franceschini.
Director: Marie Hyon, Marco Spier
Executive Producer: Eve Strickman
Senior Producer: Suzie Cimato
Associate Producer: Jodi Kraushar
Designer: Alex Dietrich, Kim Dulaney, Joshua Harvey, Dor Shamir, Pedro Lavin, Andrew Park, Guzz Soares
Storyboard Artist: Ben Chan
Lead Technical Director: Briana Franceschini
Previz Artist: Pat Porter, Michael Sime, William Burg, Ryan Moran
Lead 3D Animator: Pat Porter
3D Animator: William Burg, Ryan Moran, Michael Sime, Jessie Wang
Modeler: Ieva Callender, Justin Diamond, Casey Reuter, David Soto, Alan Yang, Briana Franceschini, Nitesh Nagda, Eric Cunha
Lead Rigger: Zed Bennett
Rigger: Aton Lerin, Matt Kushner
LookDev/Lighter: Ieva Callender, Eric Cunha, Briana Franceschini, Nitesh Nagda, Todd Peleg, Thao Dan Nguyen Phan, Anne Yang, Matthias Bauerle
VFX: James Atkinson, Eban Byrne, Cristina Camacho, Kevin Gillen, Michael Huang, Nico Sugleris
Matte Painter: Susie Jang, Henrik Sang
Junior Matte Painter: Zi Xu
2D/Comp Lead: Matthias Bauerle
Compositor: Aaron Baker, Herculano Fernandes, Carl Mok
Editor: Loren Christiansen
Flame Assist: Andrew Malvasio