During my time at Freefolk, I had the opportunity to work on the advertising campaign for 2019’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

The campaign celebrated the return of Ant with an interactive “choose-your-own” series of short commercials, with 7 possibilities to choose from throughout its duration. It saw the duo make their way to Australia and get lost around the globe on their way, which called for different environments, weather conditions and seas for each.

I was responsible for much of the project’s 3D work, one of the most rewarding aspects of which being creating the methodology for rendering the ocean.

For my first foray into Houdini, I quickly realised the package was necessary to generate the realism and variation needed for photorealistic oceans.

Although the ocean was produced using Houdini’s Ocean Spectra, our primary render pipeline for plate integration, lookdev and render passes used Maya and Arnold. This meant we needed to bring part of the sea into Maya, whilst utilising Houdini’s compatibility with Mantra to generate miles of ocean detail at render-time.

The system I settled on was baking 50 metres squared worth of displacement for use inside Maya, and finding the correct camera, lighting and lookdev calibration to ensure it matched up perfectly with the Houdini ocean, which continued out to the horizon in each shot.

It was challenging to ensure the features of the ocean aligned perfectly for each render, and I put together slapcomps for each new sequence to show how the lookdev for each render could be matched for seamless blending between both renders.

The compositing team did a fantastic job of matching each renderer’s quirks for an invisible transition between each rendered sequence for the many shots of I’m A Celeb‘s campaign.

Many of I’m A Celebrity‘s shots didn’t require visible interaction with the rowing boat, which meant we needed a more efficient method for creating the 2D-only shots of the project.

For these shots, we rendered 360° panoramas of the ocean for each weather and environment setup, which the compositors used as the backdrops.

For other sequences on the project, I was able to do more lookdev, texturing and animation on some additional assets. Details of these can be found in my showreel.

All in all, this project was very creatively fulfilling and I’m happy to have been a part of the final product!