Loco created a powerful finale to Nick Addison’s opening titles for Peter Andre’s arena tour. Based on a creative briefing with Dave Palmer of Shameless Talent, Loco’s 3D/VFX team used the story of the phoenix rising from the flames, to represent the artist’s rise to public adoration after coming through his own trials of personal adversity. However, Loco’s trial was to complete the animation from concept design to final HD delivery in just 10 days.
Taking inspiration from a variety of artistic depictions of the phoenix, Loco’s designers also incorporated Peter Andre’s defined physique into the animation. For the bird-like aspects of the design, we researched and took reference from the images and movement of raptors like the owl, eagle and red kite; as well as the shape of a bat’s wings as it wraps around its body. The client further specified a robotic rather than feathered look for the mythical bird. This vision paid homage to the classic Michael Jackson tour videos which had depicted the pop star as a high tech robot so convincing that the audience wondered if it was seeing the pop star or a sophisticated machine. The team drew reference from the images of Japanese Gojira monster movies, Robocop, Terminator, as well as metal sculptures of warriors, eagles and even automobile engines to further inspire the development of our design.
The CGI phoenix was created by lead animator Tony Lee based on Loco’s concept art, being mindful of how such a creature could be animated. Once the phoenix was rigged, the 3D team performed tests on the wings and joint systems to get the wings to unfurl, fan out and flap in an organic way. The challenge of a short production time encouraged the VFX team to seek simple solutions using as few controllers as possible to generate the wing movements.
For the audio element of the piece, the clients supplied a track from John Williams’ Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. The animators were able to use the music to time the action of the phoenix’s movements. The next stage was to rig the rest of the creature, setting up test cycles for the wing and body movements. During this process, the lead animator and VFX supervisor Danny Coster wanted to get a feel for how the creature would move, so they would acting out bird and pterodactyl-like movements (much to the amusement of the production office). As our client was working remotely with Peter Andre on other segments of the show, it was important that he was kept abreast of all the work in progress through Loco’s online review and approval system.
Loco embraced the challenge to create a dramatic performance of the animated, mythical creature in line with the cinematic soundtrack. We were pleased to hear that it wowed the arena crowds, and increased excitement for Peter Andre’s performance. Televisual Magazine was impressed with the project, and featured our work in the Visual Effects section of the December 2010 issue. For more information on Peter Andre, visit his website.
- Client: Dave Palmer at Shameless Talent
- Product: Peter Andre Arena Tour
- Title: The Robotic Phoenix
- Production Company: Loco
- Director: Loco-Create