Method Studios recently brought Tecate‘s black eagle to life for the new “Born Bold” Tecate Light commercial campaign via Saatchi & Saatchi. The familiar black eagle, a key aspect of Tecate and Tecate Light’s branding, was fully realized in CG for the first time in both :15 and :30 versions of “Apartment” and “Work,” which are currently airing.
The spots introduce viewers to the black eagle, which flies through the city keeping an eye out for Tecate Light. Method developed an extensive character roadmap that outlined how the black eagle would appear in different stages, and Method CG supervisor Doug Luka was on set for the Mexico City shoot to ensure that the bird’s CG design could easily mesh with the live-action content.
Artists began by animating the eagle in Maya, then exporting geo-caches for rendering in Houdini. Method FX lead Tomas Slancik built a custom feather system in Houdini, allowing artists to specify feather shape and easily populate designated areas. Animation supervisor Matt Hackett handled all flying shots, and the CG team faced several challenges including rigging the wings and having the black eagle interact with live-action humans. Compositor Alvin Cruz supervised the final output to make sure the CG components blended perfectly with the live-action plates.
“Our task was to give life to this character within the realm of reality rather than leaning toward caricature,” explained Ivan Guerrero, CG supervisor. “A challenge was that often when the black eagle is interacting with humans, he is sitting idle, so we had to find ways to animate and bring energy to those moments. We had outstanding character animators that went through lots of technically challenging steps to get every detail right before we moved on to final rendering and lighting.”
Method artists completed compositing in Nuke, and added customization to Shotgun to easily track all assets throughout the four month project, including feather grooms and various animations.