Saddington Baynes: FX & CG studio interview

Photogrammetry, FX & CG studio Saddington Baynes talk about their history and projects, and working on their Statue spot with FBFX...

Photogrammetry, FX & CG studio Saddington Baynes talk about their history and projects, and working on their Statue spot with FBFX...

3dtotal: Hi, tell us a little about yourself and Saddington Baynes.
Andrew White: Hi Im the Creative Director at Saddington Baynes. I have a high level of creative and problem solving skills, and experience in managing large teams of CG artists working on a number of projects concurrently. Our projects here involve the art direction of location HDRI shoots, green screen studio, live action on location, storyboard conception, TVC regional amends via CG integration to live action, lighting rendering through to final composite, and development of look and feel.

Statue is all about showcasing how we could design, direct, and control complex procedural effects this was the inspiration behind the work we love a challenge!

3dt: Tell us more about Saddington Baynes its history, projects, employees, type of work undertake and goals for the future.
AW: What drives us? Our mission is to create sensational imagery that moves people and inspires brand devotion. SB were the original pioneers of digital retouching in 1991, and one of the very first post-production studios to fully harness the potential of CGI and develop in-house capability. Today, we continue to innovate and stretch creative and technical boundaries, with fully integrated production that encompasses everything from CGI and motion to shoot production and VR capability.

Never has this expertise been more important. As today's consumers are bombarded with imagery across more channels theres an ever increasing need for more sophisticated visual content that helps a brand stand out. To help our clients, we've innovated again, developing our unique Engagement Insights® service a world-first for a production company and entirely new way to measure the emotional impact of imagery before a campaign launches.

Whether your brief is for animation or stills, for online video or an out-of-home print campaign, for mobile, broadcast or experiential, our London-based studio of world-class artists and project managers work closely with clients to deliver perfection.

Close collaboration is core to what we do at Saddington Baynes. We have people who love to delve into the detail and those who can pull back and look at the big picture. We choose our team members carefully, employing a full spectrum of creative minds with complementary backgrounds from photography, to film and design. Were the sum of our parts, a broad-ranging yet compact, agile and expert creative production studio whose staff take pride in ensuring concept, production and delivery needs are exceeded.

Be courageous. Take pride. Collaborate.

The mantra that sits behind everything we do. It drives us every day to challenge traditional means of image creation so we can bring stories to life with ever-greater creativity, flexibility, and efficiency.

Our work is about creating sensational stills and extraordinary animations with measurable impact. But more than that, it is about imagination, big ideas and that extra bit of magic.

3dt: What technology did you use for your recent Statue VFX clip (and what do you see as its advantages over other options)? How was collaborating with FBFX?
AW: It's really about the setup and experience of dealing with that workflow, FBFX have a huge camera array system that allows you to capture full body scans in a single click using large numbers of cameras linked together using their bespoke system. On-site they have a team of ZBrush artists ready to clean and sculpt raw data so it's ready to import straight into your 3D application of choice.

3dt: What software did you use (and what do you see as its advantages over other options)? Is this the normal workflow in your company?
AW: We used Cinema 4D to do all our pre visualization for camera motion to work out the complex positioning of the scans as they slowly move in the scene. It is super fast at pulling together ideas and allowing you to explore creative options. Then its over to Houdini for all the heavy lifting and working out how the fracture and statues would look, its great for this type of work allowing you to design and create effects with very little constraints placed on you by how the 3D application is designed. Other apps have lots of dead ends where you might need to either reach out to find a plugin or code some work-around. Houdini is astonishing as it allows you to deal with core aspects of geometry and redefines how you might deal with them.

Compositing wise, Nuke allows us to use various AOVs, from the Mantra renders to craft the final look and control the effects. We used UV passes allowing us to add in extra fine damage detail and help drive the pace/time of the effects. Originally this was only going to act as a guide, but it worked so well we pushed it all into comp. We have a number of ways to deal with projects software, expertise-wise it's really down to finding an answer to what the creative asks then the software is secondary it should just allow us to achieve the final results without compromising.

3dt: It looks as though you went through some material and texture iterations. How do you settle on creative decisions when working as a team?
AW: First and foremost you always need a vision, but allowing that vision to grow and change as you explore treatments is key. Our artists put their spin on how things can work/look, driving the creative. Its really important to keep an open dialogue in the team and to be able to express openly when somethings not working, so we can identify and try a new/different approach.

3dt: Any advice for artists out there working towards getting employment in your industry?
AW: Its all about passion and a keen eye for detail! CG has a huge range of tools so finding where you fit is only something experience will give. For most junior roles we look for someone with a good level/amount of lighting and texture work. One thing that really makes a candidate shine is attention to detail, whether its a beautiful piece of textual work or subtle effects added to make a shot/image pop thats the secret sauce!

Related links

Check out Saddington Baynes work
More details about the Statue project

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