Working with creative agency Aesop and Director Matthias Hoene, the Rushes CG team have brought to life the history of The Glenlivet whisky, from its inception in 1824 to the present day, in a two minute fully CG film.
The animation team at Rushes assisted from the start of the project working out storyboards, script, the geography of the CG world, the timing and pace of the camera moves and locking down the choices for the edit at the animatic stage. This allowed each scene to link seamlessly with the next, creating one continuous shot where the camera constantly moved forwards bringing the viewer from the distant past to present day, at all times reflecting the history of the brand and whisky itself.
Each animator created a large library of CG props and assets to be used throughout the film from a wealth of historical documents, photographs and even actual distilling equipment supplied to them by Aesop. At one stage the commercials department looked more like a distillery than a post production facility! Attention to detail was crucial to telling the story as vividly and authentically as possible.
Authentically creating the whisky in CG was at the heart of the production work. Texturing and lighting TD Liam Hoflay helped to develop shaders for the whisky and glass bottle using Pixar's RenderMan software, these were then rendered in a variety of separate passes such as reflections, refractions and sub-surface scattering. Lead Animator Andy Hargreaves composited these layers in Nuke and further enhanced the depth, richness and grade as well as layering in additional highlights and translucency to give the whisky a glowing vibrancy.
Mattes were rendered to allow a final grade in Telecine to make sure the exact colours and saturations of each age of whisky could be matched perfectly. RealFlow artist Alan Williamson animated the whisky by shooting a variety of reference plates with the 18 year old Glenlivet pouring into a glass then studying the various properties of its viscosity, flow and surface tension, to accurately recreate its movement in the software - all the while, mostly, resisting the urge to sample a wee dram.
The final film was entirely edited and composited in Nuke where much of the atmospheric, lighting and lens effects were added to give the film a naturalistic and cinematic feel.
Seasoned advertising campaigner and Aesop creative director Mark Tweddell led the project, which is the first step in a mentoring programme designed to further enhance the reputation and standing of the world’s second largest selling premium malt whisky. “The Glenlivet has a wonderfully rich history, featuring all sorts of plot twists, that readily and naturally lends itself to film”, he points out.
The oldest legal distillery in the parish of Glenlivet, The Glenlivet has had more than its fair share of drama – from death threats and destruction by fire to war and worldwide exposure. The Glenlivet can honestly lay claim to be the most fought over, threatened, praised and celebrated single malt in existence and the story flows on...as does its film.