There’s hardly a day goes by that I don’t see a car advertisement on the television or in a magazine and wonder if it’s a 3D rendering or a photograph. Odds are it is a rendering and it’s studios like Blue Sky CGI who are making it happen with spectacular style while keeping us guessing with the photorealistic visuals. Blu Sky is a boutique studio, based in Los Angeles, offering high-end CGI rendering and creative retouching services to the automotive, transportation and advertising industries. They recently won second place in the international CGI contest held by Lightmap Ltd. of U.K. for one of their renderings created in KeyShot. We caught up with Lee Waters and Rick Chou, directors at Blue Sky CGI to find out more about what they do and how they do it.
Blue Sky CGI and KeyShot
Lee Waters and Rick Chou based out of Blue Sky’s headquarters in Los Angeles are seasoned veterans when it comes to creating stunning visuals. Waters was one the founder of Digital Art Factory and producded artwork for projects that ranged across the production of magazine ads, billboards, direct mail inserts, packaging and television commercials.
Fellow director Rich Chou has been on the forefront of advertising photography working with major industries around the world on automotive campaigns and more.
Chou oversees projects at Blue Sky, coordinating the efforts between clients, CG artist, locations scouts, photoshoots and all other aspects that make up the production pipeline.
With a strong background in photography for both and a keen eye on the process that goes into creating high-class advertisements, they recognized the revolution that computer aided 3D rendering and animation was going to have. “As modern equipment and software continues to improve, one major difference between how photography worked in the old days versus modern advertising is the exposure to digital capability and visualization.” Chou says, “The role of the photographer is as crucial as ever, but the skills required have changed. While we have the ability to produce the necessary photographic source, we are also thrilled to be able to work with some of the most talented photographers from around the world.”
Along with their US clients, Blue Sky CGI is currently producing projects for Ford of Europe, Roewe’s Luxury cars in Asia, and images are being created for a yacht designer from Amsterdam. Other clients include Audi, BMW, Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford, Lexus, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota… to name a few.
Chou and Waters point out a few of the advantages that clients receive when images are produced in virtual space, using CGI technology such as KeyShot. “Security issues are easier to control. The large cost of prototypes is eliminated. Earlier production starts are possible and realistic visualizations of the final product are viewable during the design phase. There are broader creative possibilities, less weather dependency, and it is easier to make changes updating the model year.”
Blue Sky CGI Workflow
KeyShot is an integral part of the workflow at Blue Sky CGI. 3D models of the cars are prepared for shading and material mapping in the studio. While this is happening, the photographic team, which makes up the art director, photographer, CG operator, producer, prop stylists and assistants, goes onsite to shoot backplates and matching HDRI lightdomes. The photographer and art director work together either remotely or in the studio with the CG operator to fine tune the lighting and camera angles. With all the details set up, high resolution renderings are created in KeyShot producing the images with the proper lighting, reflections and composite images needed for final post processing.
More Blue Sky KeyShot Renderings
You’ll definitely want to visit the Blue Sky website where they have loads of animations and a wonderful making of that shows many of the before and after shot of the 3D renderings they create. Here are just a few erxample of the amazing work that Blue Sky generates with KeyShot.