Have you ever worked with a world-famous brand? It’s an invaluable experience. The Outcrowd team was lucky to collaborate with Toyota. We would like to share this case with you so that you can appreciate all the effort that went into the beautiful videos that we habitually watch.
The Toyota brand is world-famous not just because it stands for quality. It’s also the result of marketing, design, and promotion. Their ambition to stay on the cutting edge and keep their design relevant is an example to many companies. We were happy to work with them.
The Toyota case includes the concept and its realization: 3D modeling, animation, and a promo video for the Toyota Land Cruiser 200.
Staying with the Toyota brand book guidelines, make a video commercial incorporating contemporary design trends. Using the latest Toyota Land Cruiser 200 model, update the visual presentation of the marketing offer.
1. General concept
We wanted to do more than a new promo video that showcases the automobile. We sought to convey the power, beauty, comfort, and reliability of the brand itself. We wanted the viewer to enjoy Toyota’s feeling of empowerment and confidence. To show the joy of owning this car, to arouse anticipation of new roads ahead. To let the viewer touch the future.
2. Idea and Storyline
We started looking for concepts: the visual solutions and images that would serve as the springboard for the script.
To get a better feel for our target audience, we studied the consumer profiles and tastes of the luxury segment, to which the Toyota LC 200 belongs. The solution meets the expectations of wealthy consumers who appreciate reliability and comfort, and who like to emphasize their status, power, opulence, confidence, and courage. The company’s ambition to attract a younger audience is realized through trending design and a creative approach.
Based on the general concept, we came up with an idea for the video. Our task was to create a short visual story. We looked for ways to tell this story in under a minute and convey the necessary emotions to the viewers.
At this stage, we needed to come up with psychological and visual highlights as well as find images and solutions to emphasize them.
The storyline is quite simple. The car is in a hangar, the gates open, and the car drives out and into a desert, picking up speed. But this unassuming storyline carries a specific visual message. Initially, the car is under cover of darkness, like a mystery and a promise. The opening gates let in sunlight and hope; the drive-off from darkness into light symbolizes a breakthrough, changes, a new beginning, and a new path.
The highlights were devised back at the concept stage. The first meeting of the automobile had to be intriguing. The viewer was not supposed to see everything at once. We decided to accomplish it through the use of a lighting effect. The light dynamically touches the darkened car, as if caressing it with an invisible hand. At this point the viewer feels the shape of the car, glimpsing its silhouette.
Then the “introduction” deepens. Now the viewer must see all the car’s advantages one by one. We purposefully detail the elements, focusing the viewer’s attention, we emphasize the elegance of the shapes, their design, and freshness.
This is the stage where the director does a shot-by-shot breakdown, manually sketching the scenes from the future video. We produced a set of sketches and put them in sequence according to the script. Storyboarding makes the task tangible and helps create the visual sequence.
5. Choosing the location
We chose the desert as our location. The desert is great because it has nothing to distract the viewer and offers an effective contrast with the automobile. The desert creates the impression that the car and its driver are alone, sharing a private moment, getting to know each other, and becoming one.
6. Concept animation
This is the combination of sketches and music that helps to briefly visualize the future result. The sound editing was quite challenging. When it comes to creating emotional highlights, it’s essential to make sure that the visuals and sounds are in perfect sync.
This animation shows the modeling stages, from the interior structure to the outer body surfaces.
This was based on an actual Toyota Land Cruiser 200 so we could correctly render all the materials and textures — metal, rubber, leather, glass. That’s why all the colors, shapes, and proportions appear so realistic. The high level of detail makes the model perfectly lifelike.
To create the environment, we made a model of the desert and mountains, as well as the garage interior and exterior. Daylighting makes the composition vivid and crisp.
The video uses various types of animation, camera movement, and wheel movements. We added a light rocking effect to imitate the driving experience.
This is the stage where video fragments are put into a meaningful sequence. First, we did a rough edit to assess the footage as a whole. Then we polished the video and did the final cut to get a comprehensive result.
We corrected the color palette, background, and highlights. We adjusted the sound and motion sync. After the final processing, the video was ready.
Every shot was based on the original concept, but it didn’t always go as planned. It was especially difficult to convey the necessary emotions.
All parts of the video are challenging: lighting, materials, and camera angles. Not all of it was easy. For example, we had to put color correction aside for a few days to see the palette anew, with fresh inspiration. We had several dozens of different color palettes that we kept coming back to in order to combine the best version.
We used many different camera motion references, from static rest to sophisticated dynamic flight, before we found the happy medium.
Another difficult stage was choosing and adding the accompanying music because the rhythm and mood had to perfectly match the visuals.
The video was 80% ready when we had to shorten it to make the emotions and dynamics more concentrated and intense.
We are grateful for these challenges. Each stage was exciting, difficult, and memorable. Challenges motivate us to take on even more complex and interesting projects.
Blender, Photoshop, After Effects, DaVinci Resolve.
Toyota is an entire world, a special company-built universe. In this world, everything works flawlessly and precisely, and every detail is perfect. It was important for us to fit our design solution into this well-established world order. To follow Toyota’s established guidelines, to retain the feel and style of the brand, but also to bring a fresh twist to the visuals.
We believe we have succeeded. But we will always strive for more and work on our professional growth. With partners as reliable and wonderful as Toyota, we have someone to learn from!
We enjoyed sharing the pleasure of the design process of this beautiful car and hope that you will enjoy it just as much.