The CG team at London’s Rushes created a range of kitchen designs for an interactive experience on IKEA’s website called The Truth About Kitchens. Each of the themed designs shows visitors information about how we spend time in our kitchens. Working closely with agency Mother and IKEA’s kitchen designers, Rushes created six kitchens that seamlessly transform into each other.
Animation for the project turned into an interesting logistical challenge for the studio. Each of the kitchens had a distinctive layout to animate in and out of, as if on a turntable. A looping animation takes over once one kitchen leaves and transforms into any of the other five kitchens that the user happens to choose.
To make this work the team implemented solutions involving matching the speeds and locations of the different kitchen cabinets for each sequence. Collisions between the kitchen cabinets in the transitions presented a problem, but that was solved by subtly animating parts of the kitchen toward or away from camera, allowing other cabinets to move in-between.
Lighting the kitchens presented a challenge; we needed to recreate the familiar IKEA aesthetic, which is so recognisable, and with all the cabinets and walls moving. The lighting also had to adapt to avoid overexposing areas of the set. Importantly, the lighting had to precisely match between each kitchen so there wasn’t a flicker between transitions.
Rushes (@RushesPost) used Autodesk’s Maya for 3D and The Foundry’s Nuke for compositing, both running on Intel based-PCs with Linux as the OS.
The final step was to encode and deliver the animated graphics to Wilderness, who developed the web front-end, as well as designing and animating the infographics over the top. Accomplishing such a complex build in a relatively short time, fast feedback and close collaboration was essential to the project, which can be seen here.
In terms of collaboration, it was a combination of face to face at the early stages of the project to discuss logistics and the overall creative concept, and then followed up with a lot of phone calls and emailed PDFs to illustrate design briefs for kitchen design and prop layout.
“This was a super tricky project,” explains Mother producer Chris Lynd. “There were a lot of moving parts, both at the 3D and production, and the site development stages and the timing was incredibly tight. Andy Nicholas [director of CG], Norra Abdul Rahim[senior EP], [producer] Georgina Meirick [producer] and Simon Sanderson [freelance producer] made it all run like a well-oiled machine. Not only did they do an awesome job on the creating and animating each of the sets, the team had a fantastic technical grasp of how the output slotted into the interactive experience and really made that part of the process seamless. Literally seamless. It was an absolute pleasure to work with the team. They continually went over and above the call of duty and have an impossible amount of energy and enthusiasm and the work is fantastic.”
Additional Rushes credits include 3D artists David Drese, Nimesh Patel, John Hasted, Mark Woodcock, Andrea Scibetta, Craig Travis; Nuke artists Noel Harmes, Sarah Breakwell; and pipeline TD Ben De Luca.
Mother’s head of digital is Tryone Hannick, and agency creatives on the piece were Nick Hallbery, David Colman.