Cinema 4D Project Profile: Appliance Repair Guys with Loosekeys

September 5, 2013 - By 

We love seeing learning in action. When the team over at Loosekeys shared a project with us in which they extensively used Cinema 4D, we wanted to find out more about it. We connected with Brad Chmielewski and Jake Williams to get some thoughts about their experience.

Tell us a little about your company.

LooseKeys’ primary focus is creating videos that tell a business’ or company’s story, whether that’s with explainer videos, commercials or interviews. LooseKeys takes the sometimes complicated ideas or services a business offers and simplifies it for the audience. We’ve been around for about 2 and half years.

Does LooseKeys do a lot of 3D work?

We tend to only do full 3D animated videos like this maybe once or twice a year or so. Every so often we get an itch to push what we’re doing and to see how we can tell a simplified story with the flexibility of 3D. We do a lot of 2D character work for our explainers that can be enhanced just by adding in some touches of 3D.

Tell us a little bit about this project.

This video was made for Appliance Repair Guys, they are an appliance repair company located in Canada. Since this was going to be 3D most of the time was spent upfront with the character designs, modeling and set-up. Modeling isn’t a strength of mine, which is why I reached out to Jess Donofrio for help. The animation portion was done over a period of about 4 weeks including revisions.

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While Jess was working on modeling, I focused on getting the script and voice over taken care of so we wouldn’t have any delays in the animation. Our first rough cut for the client was in the middle of June which gave Jess about three weeks to model and light. Jake and I took a week and roughed out all the scenes. From there we worked on the overall animation, tweaking and adding what we could. The client feedback was pretty simple but any small change typically took awhile with the rendering.

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How were the characters designed and modeled?

Jess Donofrio: I love these characters. This is a style I’ve been wanting to work in for awhile now. The minimal cubist style needs to be as simple as possible. Figuring out which polygons need to be split and tweaked away from the cube and which can be left, was tricky. I needed to find that balance of just enough detail that the models were clear and interesting, but not too much that they lost the clean cubist look. The male character is where I started, and he was pretty easy to keep very square and boxy. The female was more difficult – women are inherently not square, so I had to do a lot of tweaking to carve a feminine form from a cube while staying true to our style. I loved the challenge, modeling characters is like a fun game to me – It is my favorite thing to work on. I also needed to make sure the models and scenes were light and able to render easily. I try to set up the scenes that will make it easy for Brad to take everything and work his animating magic.

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Why did you choose Cinema 4D as the tool for this project?

We needed to be up and running in such a short time that we needed a tool that would be familiar. With the amount of knowledge we can tap into from the Cinema 4D community, it went a long way to making Cinema 4D the obvious choice for this project.

What was the most challenging thing about this project?

Simply the undertaking of a 3D project is often a headache for a small team like LooseKeys. You have to plan better because everything takes a little longer. We were worried there would be a learning curve that wouldn’t correlate well with our deadline. However, coming from After Effects, within a day were up and running with Cinema 4D like we had been using it for months.

Did you use any Greyscalegorilla tools in this project?

Jess Donofrio: I looked around a lot to find the best light set up for our piece. Brad wanted the world to be really bright and fresh looking. I wanted to find a solution that Brad and Jake could easily incorporate into every scene with minimal tweaking, that was light to render, and was bright enough to light up our white world we wanted. The Greyscalegorilla DayLight rig was right on for us. The clean user controls made it quick and easy to achieve the look we wanted.

Jake Williams: As Jess mentioned, the Greyscalegorilla DayLight rig went a long way for us on this project. Because I was really digging into the software as I went through this project, having an easily manipulable lighting rig made all the difference. After just messing around with the settings between scenes, I knew quickly which parameters created which results, which made the workflow that much more efficient.

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In hindsight, is there anything you would have done differently?

I don’t know that I’d change anything about the way we pulled this project together, mainly because it acted as one big learning experiment for us. We kept the style and motion of the piece very basic, light, and fun. It fits nicely in the portfolio of LooseKeys work and really shows that we can put another dimension to our work. We’re really happy with what the three of us were able to put together and I’m happy to have such talented people working with me.

Learn more about how Loosekeys handled the project and the challenges they faced by listening to their Appliance Repair Guys Audio Project Recap

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14  comments
14 Comments
  • Nice stuff loosekeys. Looks like a lot of work!
    I just wanted to share an animation I made that is kinda along that vein.

    https://vimeo.com/68380003
    u- aerotek
    p- aerotek

    This is something I did all by myself (Except for audio) it took about 130 hours or so.

  • Really cool video, especially the way the road is animated.

    It would be interesting to learn more about the business side of a project like this. 4 weeks of work, how much did that cost the client? How does the client intend to use the movie and drive traffic to it (if it is online). What is their expected ROI?

    I know GSG is a 3D resource, but it wouldn’t hurt to talk about the money and logic behind it?

    Br
    Thomas

    • Thomas,

      Well, Jess has another full-time job and works with us when she can so the time she spent modeling and lighting was typically done at night and on the weekend.

      Currently the video is living on the the homepage for Appliance Repair Guys. I’m not sure if they have plans to use it in other places.

  • Had to look twice to notice it was actually the Appliance Repair Guy’s thumb sticking out there in the second last screenshot.

    Great work, though I’m just curious to why you didn’t use sketch-textures!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Love,

  • Channeling a little Dire Straits in this one? Ha, I like 🙂

    • Glad I’m not the only one who noticed that! One of my favorite videos of all time and a big part of the reason I’m in this field. Awesome spot Loosekeys!

  • I love the way the road animates, and the stylization it really suits your company and the client so well, jess did a great job providing the feel of your 2d work within a completely 3d piece. Also it’s amazing that GSG did this post, I haven’t gotten an opportunity to do any branding/marketing/copywriting combined with C4D yet even though i do all of them separately. I am really interested in the render settings! I wish i had 4 weeks and 130 hours to render anything i almost died meeting a deadline recently. Great post, good job LooseKeys.

  • Are the specular highlights in the texture map or did he use champher to all those edges?

  • Reminds me of one project i recently worked on. Uploaded it just now: https://vimeo.com/74446083

  • this kind of looks like this animation especially the house on an island https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQz0Bbo2ptw

  • I would be a shame to be associated with this guys they are crooks and you are linking to them. Please read some reviews about them here:
    http://homestars.com/companies/2814989-appliance-repair-guys

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