This is the third in a successful seris of ads featuring Dominic and Daniel, in their increasingly recognisable comedy partnership. Creatives Ed Morris and Andy Drugan wanted to continue the mix of cinematic drama and comedy timing that they have used so astutely before and they knew David had the ability to deliver both together.
It was also another great opportunity for Senior Editor Colin Sumsion, Colourist Duncan Russell and VFX Supervisor Jim Allen to edit, grade and composite for David Lodge.
The film was shot on Alexa 4:3 at 2k using anamorphic lenses giving a 1:2.35 aspect ratio for that classically filmic look.
Concept and Design
'...I like the idea that they're lanky and spindly. Both to emphasise this fragility and because that's just how I imagine aliens. I may of course be wrong.' Director, David Lodge
The brief; a classic, instantly recognisable, big-eyed, slender alien that looked natural and believable. The classic alien had been attempted many times before, all with varying levels of success, so with the latest technology and a wealth of talent on our side, we went into this feeling that we had a great opportunity to add something really special.
So we needed an imaginary creature that would feel natural. Early mood and reference was of quick, darting, gazelle-like movements, octopus and cuttlefish-like skin textures and forms.
Early concepts showed the over-sized head and slender limbs that we all know, but with a very organic plausible build. As the concepts progressed (with the addition of an extra leg joint) we moved towards a less human, other worldly, more endearing and yet still natural form.
'At close quarters we only ever see details. The translucent, veiny, luminous skin. A double eyelid. Oversized nostrils that expand and contract as if made of elastic.' Director, David Lodge
Taking the above references from the director as a starting point, the look and texture of the aliens were developed through a dedicated team of concept artists and 3D modellers.
After some texture tests we then rendered out some concepts with the striping texture taken from initial research into self-camouflaging sea creatures, such as cuttlefish, squid and the octopus cyanea.
Final Textures and Design
To achieve convincing translucency in the alien skin, the animation team, led by Ulf Lundgren, chose the Arnold renderer.
Watch the finished ad here: