Arsenal FX, a leading visual effects post production studio specializing in high end commercial finishing, has produced dramatic, weather-driven visual effects for a new national, 30-sec Lexus spot entitled "The Point of All-Weather Drive."  Arsenal FX worked directly with its client Team One. The new spot broke October 1st. The announcement was made today by Arsenal FX Executive Producer Ashley Hydrick.
In "The Point of All-Weather Drive" spot, we see a series of luxury Lexus GS, LS and IS sedans as they are being driven through city streets at night during winter. The drivers of the vehicles are negotiating falling snow, icy streets, snow banks and slush, as the cars stream effortlessly through these intense weather obstacles. We hear the VO announcer: "What's the point of having all that power if you can't conquer this? All that craftsmanship, if you can't master this? And all that technology, if you can't defeat this?" 
The spot concludes with the VO announcer: "What's the point of having a luxury sedan if you can't have it all the time? The all weather drive Lexus IS, GS and LS."   To view "What's the Point," please see below or click here.
About ArsenalFX's Work on Lexus "The Point of All-Weather Drive" Spot
Arsenal FX Partner Terry Silberman describes the work that took place during the design phase for "The Point of All-Weather Drive." "The VFX concept for this spot was to take the live action plates of the various Lexus models driving through a winter city environment, and make these scenes look even colder and icier," he says. "After some research, we decided that the best visual approach would be to create a lot of atmosphere in each shot, by combining a multitude of elements. These included ground fog, background haze, wispy ground particles, snow flurries, volumetric headlight beams and water mist." 
After Silberman and his team received the locked edit from the agency, they began tracking each shot in the edit, and then roto-scoping necessary elements like the car and various background objects. The Arsenal FX team then began the process of creating dynamic fluid simulations in Maya to create ground fog that could then be animated to envelope the car in the shots. They also developed a 'wispy' ground particles simulation that was activated by the car passing. The simulation needed to swirl dynamically through the fog. 
In composite, Silberman and team used depth passes from 3D to create atmosphere and a background haze. They used the roto-scoped elements to create a more realistic falloff of the objects farther from camera. Several layers of snow flurries were added to help add a sense of speed. The team additionally created realistic volumetric headlight beams that, in composite, would interact 
with the other atmospheric elements. Finally, the team built a high frequency mist particle system for the headlights to illuminate. "This really sold the authenticity of the CG headlights and snow elements," Silberman adds. 
In composite, Silberman and team developed a look that could be used across each shot - one that would make the whole spot feel cohesive and believable. This included the integration of all the CG elements, as well as color corrections on the car. They also added light blooms and flares that would be present in a real world icy atmospheric environment. 
Lead Flame Artist Matt Motal developed the post pipeline design for "The Point of All-Weather Drive" project so Arsenal FX would provide quick look development for their client's vision. This allowed the team to get a lot of concepts in front of their client early so they could decide on a visual style. Motal also assembled the team of Arsenal FX's 2D/3D artists and matte painters to work in unison. 
Said Motal, "Once our client's vision was realized, we provided a workflow that specified where our artists were needed and then streamlined the process. Our artists started with animation tests which were modeled after we received our client's approved concept art. Our 2D/3D artists refined their techniques on a select few shots, which allowed us to get new versions to our client quickly. Once a few shots were approved, our artists simply had to apply the same techniques to all shots, thus minimizing revision time."
The workflow for "The Point of All-Weather Drive" involved Flame (conform/breakout, plate cleanup/ fixes/screen comps/car model modifications, maintain edit/run dailies, finishing/ versioning/cutdowns/deliverables;) Maya (creation of snow/fog elements and light volumetrics;) Nuke (comp/integration of snow/fog;) Design (element creation for legal and versioning;) and finally Comping, Conform, Edit/Run Dailies, and Finishing. 
Founded in Santa Monica, CA, in 2008 by Mark Leiss, with Terry Silberman serving as Partner, and Ashley Hydrick as Executive Producer, Arsenal FX is an artist-driven, Visual Effects Post Production studio set within a boutique environment. The company specializes in commercial finishing. Arsenal FX enjoys a stellar reputation and a diverse global client base, spanning the industries of advertising, motion pictures, and television. 
Arsenal FX considers its greatest strength the talent of its award-winning artists and technicians, whose collective years of experience, along with a shared hunger for new challenges, has resulted in an uncompromising standard of excellence. Under Ashley Hydrick's supervision, the Arsenal FX team has the expertise and technology to provide state-of-the-art visual effects for any commercial, TV show, or feature film, regardless of its size or location, anywhere in the world. 
Since its founding, Arsenal FX has contributed visual effects to many hundreds of commercial spots on behalf of such major clients as Sony, Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, Nike, Redbull, BMW, Bud Light, Hyundai, Audi, Lexus, Chevrolet, Mazda, McDonalds, State Farm, U.S. Cellular, and dozens more. 
Arsenal FX is located in Santa Monica, CA. Phone: 310/453-5400. The company website is: