Visualizing a World-Spanning Race

Okean storytelling agency on using Redshift to create a pulse-pounding film for the Jaguar Racing Formula E team.
By Michael Maher

When Jaguar Racing wanted to showcase its civic and racing electric vehicles around the world during a global pandemic, they turned to okean storytelling agency and Floss Creatives to visualize the excitement on the track.

Made using Cinema 4D, Houdini, 3ds Max and Redshift, the high-energy launch film features Jaguar EVs racing in cities around the world. We sat down with okean Creative Director Oleg Karasev and Art Director Alexander Ilyin to find out about their creative process.

Tell us about the type of work your studios specializes in.

Karasev: We do a lot of heavy CG work. Alex and I met six or so years ago when I was a freelance producer. We worked on commercials and experiential exhibitions, kinetic installations, full 360-degree work for museums and AR and VR projects. All of the cinematic experiences were done in 3D.

How did this Jaguar project come about?

Karasev: Jaguar Racing was trying to figure out a way to launch the new season, which was coming up during a lot of Covid restrictions. They asked us to pitch some concepts for the online team presentation, and we sent over an initial script that they thought was a little too aggressive. After talking with them more, I got the insight we needed about what they wanted.

Because the Formula E Championship was going worldwide on different continents, we decided to focus the visual story around those locations. At the same time, the team at Jaguar also introduced a new pattern for their electric vehicles, a hexagonal pattern for their Formula E livery. We proposed using that pattern in the film to take over the cities where they were going to race, and they loved the idea.

What was the overall production like?

Karasev: At first it seemed like a big challenge for everybody on our team.There were several projects running in parallel, and the pressure of that responsibility was always around. I’m really proud of everyone for giving their best to make this spot.

We had about two and a half months before the launch to have everything done, so we checked in with the client periodically to check out a frame here and there, and go over things like sponsor logos and livery updates.

Ilyin: The logos were the main focus for the client. Sponsorship is crucial for racing teams, and sponsors who invest require their part of fame too. It was a challenge for our team to find proper angles for logos on car body elements without sacrificing montage pace. We made a lot of internal iterations during the previz stage to find the best solution.

Karasev: This was one of those projects where no one interfered. We just kept working and improving on the details and compositing. When we shared our first assembly they said, ‘We have no words.’ They were just incredibly happy.

Once in a while you have a project like this, and it was a mental boost for the team. Everyone put everything they had into this, and we all leveled up and saw our skills and pipeline improve.

Talk about the environments and how they were created.

Karasev: We chose landmarks to feature from each of the cities in the Formula E Championship. They liked what we chose, so the only feedback we got was to change a New York skyscraper to the Brooklyn Bridge since the race was in Brooklyn. Rendering was all done in Redshift. We probably would have failed on this project without Redshift.

Ilyin: We used Google Maps for the models of the environments. That was really helpful because we could grab 3D data and detail and remodel every building.

What 3D and compositing apps were the go-to tools?

Ilyin: We used a lot of 3D software for this; pretty much whatever an artist was fastest and most comfortable using, Houdini, Cinema 4D or 3ds Max. Working in Cinema 4D allowed us to save parts of scenes as proxies and share assets with teammates. Then, we would just create the pipeline to blend them together.

We chose Redshift because it has a lot of plugins for all the different software, which helped us a lot. They are not identical in each app, but they are all very close, so we were able to spit out final images that all looked similar. We brought everything into After Effects for compositing and final assembly.

Tell us about the release of the launch campaign.

Karasev: It was was very cool to see the film as part of the one-hour Jaguar Racing team presentation. It was also sent to dealerships around the world to promote all of their electric vehicles, which was great. That sort of recognition is very important for every team member. It’s what makes everyone proud and helps us get us easier in the morning for a new challenge.

Brand: Jaguar Racing Formula E Team, Adrian Atkinson
Idea: okean storytelling agency
Agency: Floss Creatives x okean storytelling agency
Production/VFX: okean // sa x moonshot labs b.v.
Floss Creatives CEO: Shamsher Walia
Production Director/Art Director: Alexander Ilyin
Music and SFX by