How ALIEN studio rendered over 1,200 frames on a tight schedule


ALIEN studio loves a 3D production challenge. 1,200 frames for an O2 Slovakia ad campaign was a chance to put V-Ray & RANCH computing’s render farm to the test.

When it comes to producing successful 3D advertising campaigns for global brands, ALIEN studio is a master of its craft. Having produced a variety of animation and print campaigns for clients including Heineken, Coca-Cola, Škoda, Kia, Suzuki, and many more, ALIEN studio is an award-winning agency — and now one of the market leaders of 3D animation, graphics and visual effects in Slovakia, where the company was founded in 2003.

ALIEN studio’s 3D animation and effects have been recognized globally — the studio even scooped a prestigious international award at Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards for its work on the 12-minute 3D animated trailer, Odyssey of Energy for Enel.

In this interview, RANCH Computing — one of our trusted authorized V-Ray render farms, located in France — talks to Pal Pushkash, Project Manager at ALIEN studio, about the highly successful "Couples Campaign" created for O2, which was rendered effortlessly with V-Ray and RANCH Computing. 

How long have you been with ALIEN studio and what was your involvement in this particular campaign?

Pal Pushkas: I’ve worked for over two years at ALIEN studio — O2 Slovakia has been my main client throughout my time at the company. ALIEN studio was responsible for the 3D production and, together with director Dano Dekan, we brought the campaign to life, starting with a concept of the story on paper before moving into the realization stages.


How many shots and frames were there in total for the campaign?

PP: There were 20 unique created shots for this campaign — we created one main 30-second advert plus three 15-second commercials — with over 1,200 frames rendered in total. 

Image courtesy ALIEN studio. Client: O2 Slovakia

What was your timeline on the campaign and how many people worked on it?

PP: We had about a month for the 30-second main ad and another month for the rest of the campaign of three 15-second ads. I had a team of five people working on this campaign in total.

“Together with the director of photography, we were able to tweak the lighting and volumetric effects in real-time, thanks to V-Ray’s interactive rendering.”

Pal Pushkash, Project Manager, ALIEN studio

You used 3ds Max and V-Ray for this specific campaign. What are the main advantages of working with the V-Ray renderer?

PP: V-Ray gives us predictable results. During the final rendering of scenes, we have to merge together several plugins — Forest Pack, Ornatrix, etc. — with some very heavy geometries of animals and fluid simulations from Houdini. With V-Ray, we can render all of these layers at once without any special tweaks, and this speeds up our workflow. Together with the director of photography, we were able to tweak the lighting and volumetric effects in real-time, thanks to V-Ray’s interactive preview rendering.


You've got the ocean, animated animals, underwater lighting, textures . . . But what were your main technical challenges in this campaign?

PP: Because of all those scenes, meshes, fluid simulations and high-res textures, our environments became quite gigantic — but thanks to V-Ray Proxy and its instancing, we were able to save a lot of disk space; V-Ray proxies also made it easier to send our files to the RANCH render farm.

Why did you integrate RANCH Computing into your workflow for this campaign and what were the benefits to ALIEN studio?

PP: We rendered all shots on the RANCH Computing render farm. After using several other render farms, we've finally found the one that gives us the renders we want to see. This means the number of wrong rendered frames was minimal, though not zero. If we had any issues, the team in the support service promptly investigated our scenes and gave us tips on what we needed to do to modify and make flawless renders. In our following campaign, we had zero wrong frames thanks to all their great support.


What will be next for the O2 Slovakia campaigns: Will there be more animals, more simulations, any different environments?

PP: I'm curious, too, but I hope all of the above! For every campaign, we prepare something new — environments and characters — so we can't wait to accept another 3D production challenge.

Image courtesy ALIEN studio. Client: O2 Slovakia



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