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MPC Creates CG Athletes for EA SPORTS


MPC’s New York and L.A. studios recently teamed up with agency Modus Operandi on a pair of spots for EA SPORTS. The fully CG pieces were used to promote the company’s four sports franchises for industry heavyweights at the recent 2013 E3 conference in Los Angeles.

“IGNITE” fuses highlights from EA SPORTS’ Madden NFL, NBA, FIFA 14 and UFC games to highlight the games’ new features, including increased artificial intelligence, cloth simulation and better-integrated motion capture. The mammoth job featured 32 shots, three fully CG environments, nearly 50 hero characters and stadium crowds. The spot required a carefully choreographed pipeline that worked efficiently with Modus Operandi and EA’s diverse branches.

MPC LA orchestrated a workflow that ran from asset organization and pre-visualization to final cut, developing a universal rig, model and shading tagging system that complemented its existing pipeline and shot-management tool.

“EA SPORTS wanted “IGNITE” to inspire its fans and showcase the future of EA SPORTS gaming,” explained MPC LA VFX supervisor Ross Denner. “This was a huge job of the same size and scope as a short film, and it required real insights and close creative collaboration from MPC NY. We strove to be a technical and creative partner that would give Modus Operandi the freedom and support they needed to achieve the cinematic effect of the project.”

LR-EA_04MPC NY focused its efforts on “Feel the Fight,” a spot dedicated to EA SPORTS’ new UFC game. In a spot focused on the electronic representations of real-life athletes, achieving a feel of authenticity was paramount, a challenge that required a massive team effort across MPC.

The 2D team, led by MPC VFX supervisor Alex Harding, composited immense amounts of realistic muscle deformation, skin movement, sweat, blood, bruising and damage detail across more than 30 shots. Chris Bernier’s 3D team created models and animation that held true to the fighters’ real-life MMA moves and muscle anatomy, dedicating tremendous amounts of time to creating the precise gesticulation of rippling skin and muscles on the slow-motion moments of impact. MPC’s NY colorist Adrian Seery was also a key member of the team, allowing the 3D and 2D teams to focus on the overall animation, lighting and general look of the piece, while Seery handled the overall grade, ensuring consistent and true-to-life skin tones while establishing a look and feel for the spot.

“This was an exciting project to be a part of,” said Harding. “Fully CG jobs are very challenging, but they put a huge amount of creative freedom in our court on ‘Feel the Fight,’ both from a 3D and 2D perspective.”

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