The art of robotics

Television audiences got their first taste of vehicular dancefloor magic back in 2004. A relative newcomer to the field of CG, Vancouver-based VFX studio The Embassy Visual Effects had already turned heads with its viral short film Tetra Vaal and some impressively photoreal ads for the likes of Nike. But it was the Citron 'Alive with Technology' ad that really put the studio on the map - and a spring in the step of CG-based car ads. Fusing perfectly believable virtual visuals, directorial flair, and some seriously cool dance moves, The Embassy created what is now regarded as a genuine classic.

Now the studio is back on board for the third spot in what is becoming an increasingly long-running campaign, and has been working hard to push the concept of a car that transforms into a robot to even greater heights. In contrast to the original spot, for which director Neill Blomkamp utilised a virtual camera and 3D environment constructed from photographs, the new ad's director, Trevor Cawood, chose to undertake a live shoot in South Africa - a location chosen principally for its favourable lighting conditions. A new transforming CG vehicle was then integrated into the plates with the help of elements rebuilt in 3D to aid the creation of shadows and reflections.

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