3 groundbreaking uses of CG in commercials

It's astonishing what you can do with computer graphics these days: check out these inspiring examples from the world of ads.

Movies get the most attention when it comes to CG. But some of the most exciting developments and best work are taking place in the world of commercials. And here are three great examples: the winner and runners-up respectively of the CG Commercial Campaign category last year's CG Awards.

This year's awards – which honour both software and the artists that use it – are now open for nominations (details here), so you can nominate your favourites today at thecgawards.com.

In the meantime, here are the CG commericals that you loved the most last time around...

01. PETA '98% Human'

Mill+ teamed up with ad agency BBDO NY and animal rights organisation PETA to create the innovative and poignant commercial 98% Human, part of PETA's commitment to stop primates being used as actors within the entertainment industries. Rather than use a live chimp, Mill+ created a completely photorealistic digital actor as proof that it is no longer necessary to use real primates.

The digital chimp was built in Softimage using a proprietary muscle and skin simulation system created with ICE, in order to make the hair and facial wrinkles move realistically over the underlying tissues. But while the underlying technology may be complex, the realism of the performance comes down to old-fashioned human skill.

"In the past we would have used motion capture and mapped a human actor's performance directly onto the CG character," says Angus Kneale, executive creative director at The Mill in NY and director of the spot. "But we wanted to approach this project in a different way, so we decided to rely on the skill of our animators for the final chimp performances."

02. Honda 'Hands'

The brief facing directors Smith & Foulkes for this Honda commercial was an ambitious one – to showcase the firm's back catalogue in a witty and visually compelling way in one virtually seamless two-minute shot.

The ad, which shows miniature bikes and cars being created by the hands of an unseen engineer, left a lasting impression on 2014 CG Awards judge Davide Bianca, CEO of creative agency Saizen Media, who described it as an "awesome integration between live footage and Nexus Productions' CG with very clever storytelling and use of humour". Find out more about how it was made here.

03. G-Star 'The Art Of Raw'

The creation of G-Star denim wear, from raw cotton to finished product, is the theme of this dynamic ad from Glassworks Amsterdam, which shows the fabric spontaneously dyeing and weaving itself. Director and head of 3D at Glassworks Amsterdam Rudiger

Kaltenhauser notes that it was crucial to achieve a "super-photorealistic look" that would stand up to the critical eyes of the denim experts, adding that "there was also a challenge in creating the realistic macro images without sacrificing the tactile look of the material. Here, the Arnold renderer was essential."

The CG Awards 2015

The CG Awards 2015 recognises the work of the entire industry: from software and hardware to artists and technicians. This year's awards are now open for nominations, so you can put forward your candidates right now. Just visit thecgawards.com and nominate in one of the 17 categories.