MMJ Reaches for Divinity with USG Roofing Solutions
When the world is coming down around you, it’s hard to not take it personally. When everything is wrong, it feels like God exacting natural justice. The “why?” is not what matters, instead it’s the force and focus you see behind it.
Those feelings were exactly what MMJ Studio and USG Roofing Solutions harnessed in their latest campaign to advertise the durability of USG’s roofing products. They wanted to illustrate a malevolent intelligence behind Mother Nature, so they personified the destructive forces as natural Gods. The edict to create gods out of hail, wind, and fire, using only CGI, might seem like an impossible one. But those are the projects that MMJ loves the best. Marcelo Jr, the “M.M.J.” of MMJ, says, “That’s what motivates us at MMJ Studio. The challenge that not everyone can do. That’s our fuel.” And it was a real challenge.
The natural behaviors of fire, wind, and hail are almost impossible to predict through observation. MMJ had to recreate the chaos from those moments in a way that would be both realistic and clear. A tornado is one thing, but sculpting one into a recognizable humanoid figure, while still looking like an uncontrollable force of nature, is completely different. “Every time you have to create organic stuff in CGI is a challenge. Fire and wind were the most challenging because it’s organic and you don’t have reference of it in the real world,” Marcelo Jr explains. “We had to do a lot of tests to find the right way to do it.” So they used modeling, shading, and dynamic systems with particles to construct these titans.
These Gods are unlike anything in the world that we can see, so MMJ had to think bigger when it came to reference materials. “We had God references from movies to give an idea of grandiosity,” Marcelo says. Turning to the disasters so frequently seen in Hollywood, portraying the same personal relationship with destruction, MMJ was able to connect with the emotional impact of this kind of event.
You’ll see only two Gods here, Wind and Hail, since only those have been released to the public. But the third, Fire, is on its way. And it’s Marcelo’s favorite. To achieve Fire they had to sculpt the natural behavior of fire into a personal force with motives. Something that took all of their talents. “The Fire God is what we were most proud of and what was the most challenging. We love the final result,” Marcelo says. “To create it we had to use all of our tools in CGI… to create the fire and also the smoke that comes with it.” It doesn’t hurt that USG loves it too.