Sway: Chevy “Natural Selection”

"Natural Selection," a new spot from Sway directors Mark Glaser and John Allardice for Chevy, is a CG tour de force.


Watch the tag at the top of the screen for an indicator of which elements were done in CG. It’s pretty damn incredible. The opening shot of the Corvette shedding its skin is beautifully executed, from the car itself to the newspaper stands on the sidewalk.

I also really dig the camera work throughout this spot. Notice during the forest sequence how the camera dips down a little too low at one point, suggesting that the cameraperson is riding along similarly rough terrain in a neighboring vehicle. Contrast that with the smoother, Gran Turismo-style camera moves of the urban sequences, conveying a svelte sophistication tinged with high-performance power.

It’s funny. Normally I don’t really pay attention to car ads. Maybe I’m just ultra-sensitive to this stuff because I have to model a photo-realistic car for one of my classes, and all I can create is a nurby blob of metal with wheels.

Watch "Natural Selection"

About the author

Justin Cone

/ justincone.com
Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.


bne meyrs

I gotta say, Justin. I’m superbly diggin’ the orange rollover effect on the screenshots. nice.


great spot.. haven’t seen it on tv yet, but i’ll be on the lookout..

the city sequence is just… man…sigh…

it’s great to see when they actually used CG and not.. some of that (the desert terrain before the tunnel) you just wouldn’t think was CG because of the intricacies

thanks for the friday inspiration..


For that price the end typography is a shame

David Lewandowski

“Canada’s #1 selling car”

Feels like the rest of the peice doesn’t match the opening couple shots. Where was this done?/Did anyone work on it?


Fantastic work… how long was production on this piece?


“I gotta say, Justin. I’m superbly diggin’ the orange rollover effect on the screenshots. nice.”

Totally accidental, but I like it, too. Thanks.


“Fantastic work… how long was production on this piece?”

To quote the press release: “The deadline on this spot was blistering, with less than 6 weeks from shoot to final delivery.”

Here’s some more juicy bits from the release:

For the urban locations, SWAY shot stills of downtown Los Angeles, using photogrammetry to create a photoreal 3-D metropolis over which to move the camera and utilized the initial models for their previsualization portion of the spot. When it came time to shoot the footage for the spot, Allardice decided on the Panavision Genesis camera because of its amazing color richness and latitude to look like film. This allowed the studio to get dailies back very quickly and the acquisition time was minimal. Working in SWAY’s DI suite using Assimilate’s Scratch system, the files were easily brought into the edit and conformed along with the rest of the commercial.

For one section, SWAY had a CG car driving on a live action location plate. To ensure a seamless integration between the CG vehicle and the real world, SWAY scanned the terrain with Lidar, a laser-based radar technique that provides a perfect topographical roadmap. The scan data was brought into the SWAY Driving Simulator, which provides a completely accurate representation of a vehicle’s movement over the scanned area. Based on the automobile’s specifications, the simulator assesses and creates a realistic journey over the live action background, down to the bounce of the shock absorbers, without having to guess-timate the performance of the car on the road. Going even further, the digital team shot close to 2000 images to recreate the lighting and environment of that country road so that the vehicle would not only be lit properly but also reflect the exact environment that was shot. The deadline on this spot was blistering, with less than 6 weeks from shoot to final delivery. The delivery included a :60, as well as a :30 cut-down with additional shots. “We don’t hit the stop button until what we get is reality,� said Glaser about SWAY’s commitment to image quality. “The clients certainly don’t expect anything less.�


did Richard Rosenman work on this spot…?
cause it used both his trademark effects from the toyota matrix commercials.

skin peel https://www.3dtotal.com/team/Tutorials/toyota/advert1.asp

split https://www.richardrosenman.com/project/?cid=47


man.. (looks at above post) wish i worked in an environment that had the money to do this kind of work.. heck.. most of the time i only have about 5-8 hours to take a project from beginning to end :(

Onur Aksoy

Thats pretty impressive for just under 6 weeks.
“For that price the end typography is a shame”
Yeah I agree – I’d say it would suit more of a credit card/bank tvc


“did Richard Rosenman work on this spot…?”

He’s not listed in the credits. Here they are:

Production Company: SWAY Studio/ LA
EP: Shira Boardman
Directors: Mark Glaser and John Allardice
DP: John Allardice
CD: Mark Glaser
HOP: Matt Winkel
Live Action and VFX Producer: Romi Laine
Production Coordinator(s): Hannah Yates, Nathan Boldman
Editor: John Allardice
VFX/ Comp Supervisor: Rob Nederhorst

Agency: MacLaren McCann/ Toronto
GCD/AD: Chris Harrison
VP/Director of Broadcast: Franca Piacente
VP/Group Account Director: Richard Phillips
Account Director: Jay Miles
Account Supervisor: Eric Baldakin
Account Executive: Daniel Clark

CG Supervisor: Aaron Powell
CG Vehicle Lead: Daniel Buck
FX Lead: Greg Tsadilas
Digital Artist(s): Daniel Buck, Wayne England, Robert Glazer, Kevin Kipper, Robert Meyers, Aaron Powell, Greg Tsadilas
Compositor(s): Sean Devereaux, Jay Frankenberger, Feliciano di Giorgio, Rob Nederhorst, Marc Rienzo, Maciek Sokalski

Music: Grooveaddicts/ LA
Composer: Tenderbox “Mister Sister�
Producer: Dain Blair

Onur Aksoy

Yeah alot of similarity right there, Renascent.
check out that image.

Also take a look at NikeEvo by The Embassy
Same stripping technique applied.


VFX/ Comp Supervisor: Rob Nederhorst

Oh thats right! Throb, is working at Sway. He used to be one of the VFX supervisors at Digital Domain, and he is one of the developers of the D2 software “NUKE”. No wonder this spot is so amazing and seamless. yeah typography always seem to be an issue with car commercials.

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