Feu Vert – Iron Cat

The French automotive brand Feu Vert has unveiled an advert inspired by the greatest action films, starring its iconic cat…
Feu Vert "Iron Cat"
Case Study

In January, based on a creative idea from the Buzzman agency, I proposed a storyboard and then a moodboard with references and inspirations from action films such as 'Iron Man', 'Transformers', 'Guardians of the Galaxy' and more. Once these elements had been shared and validated, we began to create 3D animatics with Alexandre Sauthier. In addition to setting the mood board and creating a universe, we worked with the team on the narrative and began to contextualise the proportions of the set and the characters we had to create. This animation enabled us to establish a solid working base from a creative, artistic and technical point of view. I had free rein for this first scene and it was a real pleasure to accept this challenge as Creative Director and VFX Supervisor.
At the same time as creating the sets and making progress on the animatics, we tackled the design of the two main characters, first in 2D, then once the agency, the production company and the client had approved everything, we transposed them into 3D using Maya software. We proceeded in the same way for the full CG set. It is quite complex to make a realistic cat and manage to reproduce its gait and expressions without falling into cartoon style, especially when the character has to speak. We rose to the challenge brilliantly. I have done quite a few photorealistic CG animals throughout my career, like a bear, marmots and ferrets, but I had never done a cat before!

I was impatient to be able to continue working on this character that our teams had developed in the previous Feu Vert campaign. We quickly managed to find technical and artistic ways of creating Ramses, the emblematic Feu Vert cat in 'Super Hero' mode. The client was very satisfied, as was the director Antoine de Bary, and they complete trust in us throughout the production process.
The collaboration was perfect with Buzzman agency creatives Louis Audard and Tristan Darloff, who wrote a great script.

I am very satisfied with the final result, the in-house team was very committed and attentive to every detail. The working atmosphere remained very positive, and I think that really shows in the final result. Once again, a big well done to the whole team for this work. The assets and the film are superb. I think the campaign stands out from the crowd of so-called "classic" French ads and of course big ups to the Buzzman agency and the Feu Vert client for this brand film, which I hope will make a big splash!

Guillaume Ho, VFX Supervisor & Creative Director

We were delighted to work on this highly original Feu Vert project with a very epic full CG opening scene. We went on the shoot with Guillaume Ho and had a great time because the story was entertaining and the cast very funny. Right from the start we knew that the rest of the work would be fun. Once in the studio, we worked with a small team from start to finish and I think we all really enjoyed working together and making these images. When you work with a small team, the good thing is that we can touch on all the disciplines. I was CG supervisor, but I also contributed to the Art Direction, lighting, compositing and texturing of the characters. The client and the agency let us express our creativity for this first sequence, with the only brief being to make it epic. As we were given a lot of freedom, each member of the team was able to add his or her own touch.

We took the brief literally and created a cat dressed in robot armour who arrives in a full CG city. For the 3 character assets of the white cat, the IronCat and the robot, we went through a look dev phase and then the modeling, which was mainly done by Nicolas Duthatco and Arnaud Prat, not forgetting the shading, the rigg and the fur. The main challenge for the characters was to reproduce the cat-like gait of Ramses, the iconic Feu Vert character. As he is in all the brand's ads, we had to reproduce his expressions and the right lipsync without forgetting the posing. With good visual references and discussions with the director and the team, we managed to obtain a realistic cat asset that met the client's expectations. As far as the set design was concerned, we also had free rein. This freedom allowed us to enjoy ourselves visually and even have fun. We'd put an explosion in one corner, FX smoke in the other, flying debris, optical flair, which are lens distortion effects, etc. The client was very open and satisfied with all our proposals, which motivated us even more to give our best. At times we almost had the impression that it was a personal project. This was my first time working with Feu Vert, and I couldn't have wished for anything better. A big well done to the whole team, who did a great job and were very positive throughout the production. We are all very proud of ourselves.

Vincent Coni, CG Supervisor

This was the fourth Feu Vert project I'd worked on, but this one was a bit more special because we were able to contribute to the artistic direction of the full CG shots. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the shooting in Paris with the supervisors and it was very rewarding to be present during the production and post-production phases. It enabled us to interact directly with the client, to approve or reject modifications and to move forward more efficiently during the production and also afterwards for the VFX step. On the set I met the whole Buzzman agency team, whom I know well, including Saveria Besset and Morgan Gaspar - it was a great time. You could say it was a pleasure project because the final images are brilliant, and the collaboration was perfect, with a lot of mutual trust and respect. At the same time, we managed the 16 prints with Lucas Vielay, Valérian Lesprier and Jeremy Gravinay. We're always delighted to be able to satisfy our customers, and this time their satisfaction was such that they decided to release the film in cinemas ahead of 'The Flash' and 'Transformers: Rise of the Beast'. We can all be proud.

Sébastien Noyon, VFX Producer

Director : Antoine De Bary
Agency : Buzzman
Creative Director : Georges Mohammed Cherif, Louis Audard , Tristan Daltroff
Art Director assistant : Tom Lahetjuzan, Victor Christophe
Head of production : Vanessa Barbel
Tv prod : Saveria Besset, Morgane Gaspar

Production – Iconoclast
Producer : Camille Lambert
Editor : Sophie Fourdrinoy
Post-Producer : Julien Daniel

VFX Studio : The Mill Paris
VFX Supervisor, Creative Director : Guillaume Ho
CG Supervisor : Vincent Coni
VFX Producer : Sébastien Noyon
Executive Producer : Fabrice Damolini
Shoot Supervisor : Guillaume Ho, Vincent Coni
Concept design : Guillaume Ho, Vincent Coni
Lighting : Guillaume Thebault, Vincent Coni, Yassine Slimani
Modeling : Nicolas Du That Co, Arnaud Prat
Rigging : Marine Sisnaki
Previz : Alex Sauthier
FX : Marion Respaud, Thomas Arsene
Animation : Alex Sauthier, Augustin Paillard,
Crowd : Taye Cimon
Compo : Randy Gudin, Guillaume Ho, Jérémy Gravinay, Yassine Slimani
After : Manon Baillet
Flame : Alexis Bailla
Colourist : Arthur Paux

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