Taylor James is a production company that covers every aspect of the production process from concept through to completion. Delivering to all media channels, they help to bring their clients ideas to life. The team of multi-skilled, creatively agile artists work hard to find intelligent solutions for their clients to achieve the most creative and strategic impact. We caught up with the team to learn more about their innovative workflow, the technology they use to support that workflow and their new adventures into VR.
Every company has their secret weapon — the element that sets them apart from the rest. And for the team at Taylor James this secret weapon is hydraGen.
Developed in-house, hydraGen is a proprietary tool that streamlines the CGI pipeline to deliver flexible assets that can be used across all media. A relatively new proposition, it was born out of necessity on the part of the artists working at Taylor James and has improved their efficiency exponentially. By storing a visual representation of the way the artists work, and the configuration options for each asset, hydraGen makes it easy to automate repetitive and manual tasks throughout a project. This allows the artists to focus more on the creative requirements of the production.
Through this unique workflow, automation is faster and more reliable, eliminating human error in repetitive creative tasks. And more importantly it supports the production process reducing the creation of redundant assets - ultimately saving time and money while maintaining a level of consistency for the client.
A project that benefitted from hydraGen in a big way was the Honda Ridgeline campaign. Keith Jeffery, Head of Automotive Group at Taylor James, explains.
“hydraGen was instrumental in the delivery of this complex project, allowing us to output over 6000 render passes, stacked into 3600 composited Photoshop layers. Producing consistent and high quality CGI renders allowed our retouch and compositing teams to maximise the final outputs, polish up subtle details, match paint swatches and apply colour grading to deliver the very best final quality.”
Take a look at the results here…
Ford Mustang App
It’s worth noting that Taylor James first started working with AR technology as far back as 2010. Then in 2014 they were asked to help create an AR experience to pre-launch the release of Ford’s right-hand drive European version of the new Mustang. This was the first time this right-hand-drive option was made available for the vehicle. Working in partnership with Blue Hive and the AR company Kudan, Taylor James helped launch an app that allowed the prospective purchaser to view and configure their very own version of the Mustang.
Keith explains that, “AR requires good quality but lightweight data. We worked with the files and reduced the polygon count from over 10 million to around 100 thousand polygons. We then rigged and animated the roof mechanism for the droptop version of the car. Together with Kudan, we identified the best way to apply materials and vehicle options to make the digital vehicle look as good as the real car.”
Utilising New Technology
At Taylor James, many of the artists double up as engineers. They are researchers as well as practitioners and with that they rely on technology that is customisable as well as powerful. Working closely with Escape Technology to kit out their studio with HP Z640s [2x Intel Xeon Processor E5-2630 v3, 32GB, 512GB SSD, NVIDIA Quadro M4000], they have the hardware to support the delivery of large data sets such as 4K assets, which can typically take up to three times longer to render. Harnessing the power of GPU rendering with the latest NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards and HP’s monster processing power — Taylor James can deliver higher resolution assets, materials and textures with greater speed and ease.
Taylor James continue to push the boundaries of what they can offer their clients, and are researching pre-rendered VR, based on image quality. With low frame rates and quality being a major hurdle in the production and delivery of slick VR experiences, this research is constantly developing. Currently working with a HTC Vive and Samsung Gear in the studio, the team are continuing to expand their knowledge and look forward to delivering solutions that span every media channel over the coming years.