Drive developed an App for car manufacturer MG Motor UK to showcase its latest SUV, the MG GS using augmented virtual reality (AVR) technology. Drive used its experience in this field to create an AVR experience using Virtual headsets, to allow MG to give potential customers the first in-depth look at the new car before its official ‘real life’ launch.
Matthew Cheyne, Head of Sales and Marketing for MG, said: “We are really excited about using augmented reality to bring the GS to life. The kit we’re using is great and really allows you to explore the GS. You can open doors, fold down seats, open the boot and walk around it. When you’ve got the headset on, it recognises where you’re moving and updates the image in front of you.”
MG Motor UK also took the virtual experience to Brands Hatch Paddock during the British Touring Car Championship race weekend.
Augmented reality is a way of superimposing virtual (computer generated) content like the MG GS into everyday surroundings.
This is achieved with any electronic device that has a screen and a camera. The camera takes a photo or video and displays that on the screen while superimposing computer imagery. The cg car can be adjusted to your personal colour choice, allowing you to see how the new car you want to buy looks on your driveway.
Virtual reality is a way of submerging you into a virtual environment, using a headset. The headset has two screens, one for each eye which allows you to then see with depth or in cinema terms; 3D. The head set monitors which way you are looking and updates the scene in front of you. This allows you to move around in the environment and see it from all angles. For instance, you might find yourself walking around the virtual surface of the moon, a virtual showroom with virtual cars or a virtual version of the house you have just purchased which is still being built.
Using a combination of the two technologies as MG did, it’s possible to put virtual objects in your real environment, allowing you to walk around and interact with them. At present, to do this it’s common to use an object that the application instantly recognises. This is called a marker and it positions the virtual object where you want it (and vary the size).
For more information on creating such an Augmented Virtual Reality experience please get in touch.
Images courtesy of MGmotor FB
McLaren Special Operations commissioned us to produce a number of CGI car images for their car brochure.
We believe a CGI visual should tell a story, and this one captures the moment when a young boy becomes fascinated by cars, as he sees the special edition McLaren MSO 650S.
After discussion and signing-off the storyboard content of the shot, we arranged the photo shoot to take place in London. Following a scout of suitable locations, one in Holborn was decided on and the shoot was set up.
On the day, the models were positioned and talked through their poses, while the photographer set up the equipment. A number of shots were taken to get the composition right, using VRED to position a cgi car and place the models on the trial back plates, and we then waited for appropriate natural lighting.
British weather being what it is, it soon became clear that we were going to have to re-work the photos in post production to replicate the requisite sunny day look.
We shot the models with backplate and support material for the lighting and reflections of the CG car and then reviewed all of the content before heading off to our retouching suite.
The following movie shows the build up of the CGI car image through removal of unwanted elements in the scene, added dappled lighting and adjusted shadows to give the image the warm sunny afternoon appearance.
CGI animations can be used to help promote a car manufacturer’s products, and this article outlines the process.
Following a briefing, deciding on the objectives of the piece and its intended audience, we work out a story board and get sign off.
On this occasion with the South Downs so close we scouted a location and found a spot that was quiet, allowing plenty of freedom to experiment without interruption. A whole day was spent taking reference shots of the area, trying different lenses and really exploring the road and surroundings, finding interesting angles that would suit the car we had chosen to animate, and shots for the live footage backgrounds. We then refined the storyboard, taking in to consideration the final scene, environment and sun positions, and planned the shoot for the next day.
Weather conditions can cause chaos when shooting out doors, heavy cloud cover combined with strong winds can make it difficult to get consistency in lighting, especially when shooting HDRI domes. Working to our shoot timing plan, we worked through our programme taking back plates, HDRI domes and reflection plates and a few reference shots of cars driving up the road. We now had all the material required to create our animation.
Using our camera tracking software, we captured the back plate camera movement and gathered information that could be used to construct the virtual environment and most importantly, the road surface. Often overlooked it is important to make sure the road surface is defined accurately as the interaction of the car with this surface helps make the movement believable. A simple lighting dome would not be suitable for a moving car over distance so we mapped our stitched HDRI light capture to the environment geometry, regularly checking the effect from various camera shots to ensure realism.
The chosen car data set was then animated using our in house automotive rig. Additional lighting was added for specific shadowing and a number of render tests were carried out to match light levels and motion blur in keeping with the back plate. Multiple passes were rendered for the final composition and depth of field and subtle reflective glow were added to help sit the car in the scene. Finally, a little grading was added to the composition for a warmer finish.
Every shot created is different and every car has certain angles that show it off at its best, Drive’s team of creative visualisers and automotive designers combine to create and ensure great results.
Don’t offer options people don’t want and you’d rather not produce.
This may seem obvious but it is something that some car companies don’t realise they are doing.
In the rush to offer personalisation, freedom of choice or upgrade options, car companies offer a range of products and colourways, yet they have very little understanding of which combinations customers actually want. Potential customers who use the car configurator, create numerous colour and accessory combinations, yet very few of the specifications dreamed up will ever see it on to the road. Often because they realise they will be trying to sell the car in the future.
It is essential to collate the data from configurators, feedback of actual / potential customers, and real sales to understand which specifications are in high demand and which aren’t. It is also possible to understand where particular high value combinations are selling.
The sales data needs proper analysis to distinguish between combinations that are being promoted with special deals, and what are actually personal choice. The amount of colour, material and item options creates an incredible amount of data just for just the configurator – imagine the logistics required at every stage of the process through design, production and delivery, even for the options that are hardly ever chosen.
Understanding the market, helps to reduce the number of options, cutting production of low demand products or removing them from future car accessory lists, the customer will have a more focused and streamlined buying experience and the sales effort can be better directed.
The potential cost savings are immense; with higher margins if customers are ‘steered’ in the right direction through the design of the car configurator user interface.
Drive have been involved with numerous on-line car configurators, including design, creating visual content and overseeing the build.
Drive were asked by Partners Andrews Aldridge agency to support them on producing an animation for the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars web page promoting the Ghost V-Specification.
Following the initial creative briefing a story board was produced and agreed, with an animation play blast getting the final sign off. Drive prepared the final data of the car, with colours, materials and finishes matching samples supplied by the Rolls-Royce Bespoke team at Goodwood.
Delivering the final movie within the short time frame available, Drive once again proved their skills and facilities are first class.