Brilliant VFX whip up a storm

A seamless combination of video and 3D animation sees a young boy encounter a sea storm in this thrilling new ad. We find out how it was made.

Insurance company Delta Lloyd recently commissioned advertising agency TBWA\NEBOKO to create this new spot, which features the voyage of a young boy, who negotiates the elements of the ocean on a small boat.

Along his journey, he encounters seals, a storm, vortex and huge whale, all of which were created by French post production house Digital District. " 'Storm in the open sea' were the first words we heard about the film," says FX supervisor Thomas Marqué.

The goal was simple - make it real

"So you can imagine how thrilled our FX artists were. Digital District has a long history of fluid simulation but this is our first real open sea storm with boats in full CG. So the goal was simple - make it real."

Digital District's goal was simple - make it real

Simulating the sea

In charge of the convincing blend of video and CGI, the studio used 3ds Max, Nuke and fluid simulation software Naiad. "We've been using Naiad for two years now for the fluids, all the simulations in this movie have been done with it. A sea storm is really tricky to achieve, so we needed a tool powerful enough to animate millions of particles. Naiad was created in this way, to manage big simulations on a large scale."

A sea storm is really tricky - we needed a tool powerful enough to animate millions of particles

Naiad also provided the solution to the team's biggest challenge. "The sea surface becomes more complex in a storm, a little swash turn into a very detailed mountain full of foam and sea sprays," says FX lead Marc Thomas Cavé.

Fluid simulation software Naiad provided the Digital District team with the solution to all their sea simualtion issues

"For the surface itself, we used a NOT-ocean mesh in Naiad to create the main surface. This object is very sharp and detailed and acted as our base to work on foam, splashes, sprays and wakes. It's also the reference surface for the animator in charge of the boats. Naiad is powerful enough to make particles collide on such detailed meshes - it was a vital piece of software on this project."

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