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Nissan ‘Birds’

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To convey the ‘birds-eye-view’ parking assist feature found on the new Nissan Pathfinder, agency TBWA/Chiat Day decided to employ a flock of helpful sparrows. In order to get the birds to perform exactly as they needed to, Method Studios were brought on board to create fully CG birds.

One of the most challenging aspects of the job was that the sparrows needed to look photo-real. Method’s expert character animator Andy Boyd built a family of birds which each have subtle differences – just like a real family. The models contain a great amount of fine detailing which was needed as the birds appear close up to the camera in many shots.

In addition to the realistic flight animation, a great amount of attention was needed with regards to lighting the birds to help them blend into the environment caught on camera. Andy Boyd notes “It was important for the team to get reference material of real sparrows shot on location in front of green screen. This helped us focus on the details that were needed to make the audience believe they are watching real birds. Another important factor was adding reflections of the birds into the car’s bodywork and we created the car geometry in 3D to allow us to wrap the reflection layer onto the vehicle”.


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