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MPC creates prehistoric land of CG dinos for Nescafé

One of MPC’s latest commercial productions features the story of a mother and son on an epic trip in search of dinosaurs in the new Nescafé Goldblend spot from Publicis London. The commercial was filmed on location in South Africa’s Royal Natal National Park, and the MPC VFX team slightly augmented the park’s famous rock amphitheater to create part of the scenery.

Directed by Park Pictures’ Christian & Patrick (Christian McKenzie and Patrick Chen), the 60-second spot required the VFX team to create multiple dinosaurs from scratch and design impressive matte paintings as backdrops including an animated lava-spewing volcano.

Jon Park supervised the 3D team in the creation of the Jurassic creatures, with a main focus on the T-rex and her babies. Each dinosaur was treated individually, with the team modeling and rigging herds of brachiosaurus, pterodactyls, stegosaurus and T-rex. Shooting conditions in the park proved challenging, with a daily two-hour hike to locations and the team carrying all required equipment. Local Zulu guides were employed to help with the more treacherous terrain, including crossing a rocky stream via a rope bridge.

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Back in the studio, VFX supervisor Dan Sanders led the MPC team in creating a prehistoric look and integrating the CG dinosaurs. In addition to the matte painted volcano and corresponding reflection seen in the canoe scene, the team added extra waterfalls, clouds and mist, and altered the appearance of the sky and time of day.

The dinosaurs were integrated using multiple techniques. For instance, GOBO techniques were used for the T-rex scenes to create a dappled light effect over the dinosaurs’ skin and draw the eye quickly to the animated creatures.

Tools used included Autodesk’s Maya and Flame, Adobe Photoshop and The Foundry’s Mari and Nuke.

Watch their “Making Of” video