Creating Volkswagen ID4 advert by Katana Studio

Michal Franczak 2021-01-15 08:53 article  > All

Real-time 3D Unity Forma in visualization.

We are Katana Studio. We are a diverse team of creative professionals that strive to produce high-end work and creative solutions for our clients. Our foundation is a technologically driven network that combines the art of design with the power of cutting-edge technology to craft new realities.

How it all began?

Both Unity and Volkswagen have been our partners for years, doing a plethora of projects together. We participated in the first tests of Unity Forma, hosting part of their team, submitting first feedback and development suggestions. Hence why we were the obvious choice for showing off the Unity Forma capabilities.
It's worth mentioning, that our team consists of artists and programmers with gamedev background, which in turn makes communication with Unity even easier.




Few words about the client:

Everyone knows who Volkswagen is, and premiere of ID4 is a great opportunity to grasp new technologies.That new tech being Unity - a giant in its field, one of the most used and well known realtime engines. Mainly used for video games, it's only natural for them to diversify to other sections, such as automotive. And that's what Unity Forma is.




Idea and Challenge

When VW reached out to us with an offer to use Unity Forma to prepare an advert for them, we knew we had to. First of all: It's really cool to be the first in something, and secondly, we were working on quality automotive use of Unity for quite a while. Biggest hurdle to overcome was the timetable - showcase was supposed to take place in December, while we started the project in the middle of October. This is very, very little time to finish a project of that magnitude using traditional tools, but not impossible when using realtime tech. The idea was to combine VW expectations and Unity's vision through the lens of our expertise. That gave us a concrete frame for the project, and we could proceed to production itself.





Before we even started, we knew we had to use Ray Tracing. Unity's support for it is ever growing, matching quality with more traditional renderers. Car import itself,which was based on CAD files, was made a lot easier due to use of Unity Forma. One of the biggest challenges was the lighting. We had to achieve good quality lighting while using almost 100 lights. It was done by preparing custom render-support solutions.



Most important thing when creating a car in 3D, is the car paint. We achieved a realistic look by using materials scanned from a real life example.
Unfortunately, because the Unity renderer was still in beta while we were on the project, we decided to improve the rendering process in-house, with some additional functions we needed.



That made rendering 1200 frames in 5k (including 32bit depth) per hour possible. This includes all - depth, color, normal itd. All together it was around 300 GB.       

Author: Michal Franczak Editor: Michał Franczak
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