When a game is close and a tense time out is called, the Dallas Mavericks break out their new hype video created by design and motion graphics studio, Already Been Chewed (ABC). Barton Damer, ABC’s founder and creative director, came up with the video’s dark and mysterious look that retains the Mavericks’ horse mascot and logo but otherwise departs from the team’s longtime branding.


Made using Cinema 4D and 3D-Coat and rendered in Octane, the video blends strobe-lit shots of players with custom-designed gothic statues and a lot of moody energy. Illustrating the Mavericks’ explosive power are scenes in which rock crumbles away to reveal the team’s logo and streets cracking beneath players’ feet.

This is ABC’s second year working with the Dallas Mavericks, and Damer had quite a bit of freedom to develop the video’s concept. “We wanted to create a lot of energy, hype and impact and we thought destroying things and breaking them apart was a good way to do that,” he says, explaining that they used Cinema 4D’s new Voronoi Fracture object to crack, break and blow up rock, concrete and other surfaces in the video.

C4D’s Voronoi Fracture object was used to break up the street in an alleyway scene that was rendered in Octane (right).

“Breaking things up in a realistic way can be very challenging, but the Voronoi Fracture object made it easier because it takes the geometry and slices it up into uneven multi-colored pieces,” Damer says. Already Been Chewed used Dynamics inside of Cinema 4D to crack and explode the various pieces.

The Voronoi Fracture object was also used to create the dramatic reveal of the team’s logo. To ensure that the logo would be completely rounded with full depth and dimension from any angle, Already Been Chewed used the team’s 2D vector logo to create a 3D version. As rock falls away, the shiny blue logo emerges from beneath. Lead animator, Bryan Talkish, developed an Xpresso rig that allowed the tem to use the Voronoi Fracture object along a path to create very specific trails of cracking.

Rock falls away to reveal the team’s shiny logo.

Gothic artwork modeled in C4D adds to the video’s mysterious mood.

A blue strobe light was used to amp up the dramatic look of the video. But because the light flashed on and off during the photo shoot of the players, who were photographed against a black backdrop in the locker room, Damer and his team could not use green screen. Instead, to get the lighting to look right, they hand-tracked the footage and matched the light for every single frame.  

Footage of the players was shot in the locker room using a blue strobe light.

Symmetrical gothic artwork seen behind each player was created by ABC’s lead modeler, Thomas King, using 3D-Coat and C4D.

Artwork, including gothic sculptures made using 3D-Coat, also helped smooth over any lighting difficulties because of they way it was positioned in the background behind the players’ shoulders. “It was time consuming, but it was such an easy solution to not being able to use green screen,” Damer explains. “A lot of people might have thought there was nothing we could do because we couldn’t see the edges of the players, but the dramatic lighting and deep, dark shadows allowed us to get away with it.”

Thomas King, ABC’s lead modeler and technical director, used 3D-Coat to quickly sculpt the gothic swirl designs behind the horses. The workflow in 3D-Coat allowed him to mock the design up quickly and refine it based on feedback. Next, he modeled the horse head to match the 2D-vector version of the Mavericks’ logo using Cinema 4D.

Before sketching the gothic artwork seen here as a wireframe, Damer researched gothic architecture and made several sketches in Photoshop.

Damer was able to direct the alleyway scenes for which he asked five of the Mavericks’ starting players to strike a variety of poses. With little time to work with the players, ABC shot everything on green screen knowing they would have to adjust lighting and the positions of some of the players in post. “We only had about two minutes with each player, but we made it work,” he says, adding that the alley was made in Cinema 4D, allowing his team to easily move cameras and break up the concrete as the players jumped around.

Damer demonstrates a pose during a photo shoot with a handful of Mavericks players.   

Because the alley was modeled in Cinema 4D, Damer and his team could add their own camera moves to make the shots more dynamic.

Video footage in the alley scenes was composited into the scene using Cinema 4D’s external compositing tags. The tags maintained location coordinates so that when the files were opened in After Effects, the information could be used to place the players where they needed to be. “The key was to make sure the perspective on the video footage didn’t fall apart, but we were still able to move the camera forward and back for quick zooms and have it work out,” Damer explains.

Everything was rendered using Octane, which has played a key role in ABC’s workflow over the last year. “We’re rendering scenes that were previously too strenuous on our systems and it was too time consuming to make adjustments,” Damer says, adding that the team is now able to view the results in live time inside of C4D using the Octane plug-in.

Credits:
Creative Director: Barton Damer
Designers: Barton Damer, Bryan Talkish, Mark Wilson
Animation: Bryan Talkish, Mark Wilson, Barton Damer
3D Modeling: Thomas King, Bryan Talkish, Mark Wilson
  
Meleah Maynard is a writer and editor in Minneapolis, Minnesota.