Psyop takes Cricket Wireless’s Dusty and Rose into real time | Project Spotlight | Unreal Engine

February 27, 2020

>>Psyop has been around
for almost 20 years. We’re a very successful
television commercial company that focuses predominately on
animation, character, and design.>>What I love about Psyop is
that we don’t have a specific style, so we’ll do 2D, 3D,
games, we’ll do real-time. Whatever it takes
to tell the story.>>Cricket Wireless
is one of our big clients and we’ve
had a very long-standing relationship with them. They wanted to take the
characters a little bit further. The best way that we saw
was to take the character into real-time.>>We’ve always loved
working with Cricket because they’re so unique, they have all
these great animated characters, and throughout the years,
it’s really evolved. With Cricket, we’ve always just
been trying to push the envelope of what technology
we can be using. So we took one of
our character models, brought it into Unreal,
and were able to very quickly create a demo of having the
character moving around, talking in real-time, and we
ended up doing a Skype call with the agency, having the
character on the phone, and that was able to help
sell through the promise of having these characters interact
with people in real-time.>>Word got out about
this video conference, so the ideas just
exploded from there.>>Helloooo… Hi!>>The first project was the
Santa Monica Mall experience. These characters were
interacting with these bystanders, in real-time. Unreal
is for sure the best option for us because everything
plugged into it so nicely. We’re using a lot of different
hardware to make this work. We have the Xsens suits
for the body capture, Faceware for the facial capture,
and I was amazed that after a couple days, we were able
to instantly have all that feeding in, in
real-time, ready to go, without any major problems.>>We decided to use
Unreal Engine because of the fast turnaround times,
the easy methodology of prototyping stuff, we were
able to harness Blueprints and get something on screen
as quickly as possible. It also allows people that are
coming from a more artistic background to dive in and
get their hands dirty.>>And then the main agency
with Cricket Wireless was ready to go, and there’s
a much larger campaign which has sort of a movie,
Hollywood angle to it. So they thought, what better
way to extend that than to do a press junket,
and we got Mario Lopez, who is the master of asking
celebrities questions.>>Moving from the Santa Monica
Experience over to the livestream was a huge hurdle. The main
things being, it was live.>>Everything is
running through mocap, so we have live performers
having to hit their mark. We had fur, we had cloth,
just multiple systems, all working together.>>I couldn’t believe
how much adrenaline I had during that live recording,
and then just to see that everything worked better
than any of our rehearsals was a great sigh of
relief for everyone.>>I love what
I’m seeing coming. Real-time is where it’s at.>>Our clients have been
coming to us more and more, wanting so many different
forms of storytelling. Longer form, web
series, TV shows. It was finally when we started
using Unreal, it clicked for me that we could be able to do
that stuff very quickly and satisfy our clients in a way
that we wouldn’t have usually been able to using a
traditional animation pipeline.>>We know we can
push this Engine. And we know all the Plugins
and the other vendors and the partners are
supporting Unreal. So there’s really
nothing we can’t do.

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