Tag Archives: Framestore London

Framestore London adds joint heads of CG

Framestore has named Grant Walker and Ahmed Gharraph as joint heads of CG at its London studio. The two will lead the company’s advertising, television and immersive work alongside head of animation Ross Burgess.

Gharraph has returned to Framestore after a two-year stint at ILM, where he was lead FX artist on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, receiving a VES nomination in Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature. His credits on the advertising-side as CG supervisor include Mog’s Christmas Calamity, which was Sainsbury’s 2015 festive campaign, and Shell V-Power Shapeshifter, directed by Carl Erik Rinsch.

Walker joined Framestore in 2009, and in his time at the company he has worked across film, advertising and television, building a portfolio as a CG artist with campaigns, including Freesat’s VES-nominated Sheldon. He was also instrumental in Framestore’s digital recreation of Audrey Hepburn in Galaxy’s 2013 campaign Chauffeur for AMV BBDO. Most recently, he was BAFTA-nominated for his creature work in the Black Mirror episode, “Playtest.”

Lucy Killick upped to managing director of Framestore Montréal

Framestore has promoted Lucy Killick from executive producer of the VFX house’s film team in London to managing director of their Montréal studio, which has over 300 employees. As an established VFX producer, with experience working on both the facility- and production-side of the business, Killick’s credits include Chris Columbus’ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men and Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

Earlier this year, Sir William Sargent, CEO of Framestore, talked about significantly expanding the workforce in Montréal. With solid foundations now built in the city, Framestore is looking to nurture, as well as recruit, talent in Montréal.

According to Matt Fox, joint MD of Framestore’s film division, “Lucy has in-depth knowledge of the film VFX industry, combining a prolific career as our client with a history in VFX production at Framestore. This makes her an ideal person to take on this senior management role, ensuring that Framestore’s ethos of a highly creative, technically cutting-edge, and production-focused approach underpins all that we do as we continue to grow and develop the superb talents of our Montréal team.”

“I am excited to be a part of the next stage of development in Montréal,” says Killick. “With successful projects like Edge of Tomorrow and Paddington already amongst the list of credits for Studio Framestore, I am keen to continue working with the filmmakers and studios to deliver VFX of the highest quality.”

Projects in Montreal at the moment include Beauty and the Beast, Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur, Jungle Book: Origins, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Framestore launches live-action cat into CG universe

For agency VCCP and 02, a UK-based provider of mobile phones, mobile broadband and sim-only plans, London’s Framestore put a real cat into a CG spacesuit and sent him out into a completely computer-generated universe.

The viewer first sees a planet floating in deep blue space. That transitions to a close-up of the adventurous kitty; his head is in a helmet. The cat then floats off into space as a voiceover describes O2’s sim-only offerings while a satellite made up of sim cards are displayed. We get another view of the floating cat as a 4G “comet” logo whizzes by him. You can watch the Simplicity spot here.

“We treated the project very much like Gravity,” says the spot’s director, Framestore‘s Mike McGee, “creating a previs with The Third Floor and using Framestore’s art department to concept the key moments and how a cat would actually look in a spacesuit.”

“It was an ambitious project to launch our cat into outer space, and we knew there was no one better than Framestore to help us make it a reality,” reports VCCP creative director Jim Capp.

On set McGee and producer David Hay had to shoot live action that would fit what they had prevised. The cat, a Maine Coon called Jonesy, was given a little 3D-printed space helmet in order to cast the right shadows across his face and placed on a turn table so we could move him smoothly.

“We had prevised the cat to do this upside down motion, as if he’s falling off into the distance,” says CG supervisor Jay Khan. “Obviously we couldn’t shoot that, so we reverse-engineered the camera moves so that the he was doing as little as possible and the camera would compensate for that in its movement.”

The cat’s face is the only live-action element in the commercial, so Framestore needed to create his suit, the planets, nebula and comets with a combination of matte paintings, 2D elements and a lot of 3D. All of this was given a stylized look. “There was a conscious decision not to go photoreal and to lean slightly more towards the hyper-real. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, so once we finished we went to town with lens flares,” adds Khan.

The cat plates were tracked, stabilized and composited into the CG helmet and suit, which were built from scratch. The suit was then layered up with the HUD, the thrusters and reflection on the glass, while the studio animated displacement on top of the material to gave a gradual creasing effect.

Maya was used for the 3D, with Houdini employed for effects. Zbrush and Mudbox were called on for modeling, and compositing was via Nuke.

The studio strategically placed debris from a planet to form the word ‘Priority.’ Framestore’s team also had to animate asteroid belts in a way that is reminiscent of a Wi-Fi symbol, while they created a pyro simulation for the 4G comet to give it a fluid-like trail to convey the speed.

“The satellite made of sim cards was a big modeling task and we needed to get the size right so you could see what they are, while being small enough to give you a sense of the satellite’s huge scale,” explains Khan. “We went into a really high level of detail for the whole ad, but it’s all about the cat. We’re all really proud of it, with the end shot being a particular favorite. Vanessa DuQuesnay did a beautiful job of compositing the cat-suits and added a real sense of realism to the 3D renders.”