Eurosport hired James to create a 30 second TV commercial advertising their coverage of the 2015 Australian Open. The creative brief required adding VFX and melting CGI elements to help showcase the searing heat the players would face, including melting tennis racquets, tennis balls that burst into flames, painted court lines which bubble and evaporate and a final endboard consisting of the Australian Open logo and 4 of the star players melting.
The tennis ball was recreated as a 3D model and VRay fur used to add the outer fibres. The singe effect of the ball was created by animating the texture of the ball, a seperate texture for the fur and the individual fur settings, such as frizz and curl. Additional live elements such as fire, smoke and embers were added to make the ball look as if it was bursting into flames.
For the melting tennis racquet, a 3d textured model of the shaft was created and positioned in place, overlaying the footage. This was then exported as a mesh to Realflow and used as a ‘fill object’ container to hold some thick fluid. This mesh was then used to position the fluid at frame 1 and replaced at frame 2 by a duplicated version – with some of the polygons around the model cut out to allow the fluid to flow out. The resulting fluid mesh was then imported back into 3DS Max and tracked over the existing racquet. Additional compositing using the liquify tool in After Effects was used to help the melting fluid mesh to merge into the filmed shot.
The bubbling and evaporating court lines were created using a combination of animated masks, fluid meshes from Realflow and filmed footage of white paint bubbling. These elements were created and positioned in 3D space and positioned over the live shot, with duplicates of the background overlaid in order to cover up the paint lines. Smoke elements were then added to help embellish the effect.
The advert ran on British Eurosport during January 2015 and throughout coverage of the Australian Open. An edited 20-second version was also displayed on London Underground cross-track projectors in the lead up to the event.