Behind The Scenes: Crafting a Gamer’s Utopia for Alienware with Covert

In an industry where innovation blends with imagination, Alienware has long stood as a beacon for gamers craving high-performance hardware encased in visually striking designs. To introduce its latest offerings, Alienware enlisted the creative mastery of Covert, a company renowned for its visual effects prowess. This campaign, a trilogy of visually stunning advertisements, was concocted in collaboration with animation and live-action studio, Private Island, and the visionary director, Chris Boyle. The ambition was clear from the start: to meld the realms of gaming fantasy with the tactile world, encouraging viewers to ‘Be More Alien.’

Covert’s creative director, Dan Andrew, shares a glimpse behind the curtain of bringing these ambitious projects to life. From mythical critters exploding in showers of sparkle to detailed, alien war landscapes, the team pushed the creative envelope to craft narratives that resonate with the gaming community’s core.

A Tale of Three Worlds

The trio of commercials – ‘Space Marine,’ ‘Hoard,’ ‘Slayer’ – takes viewers on a unique journey into the heart of gaming fantasies, each serving as a love letter to different gaming genres. They reveal how a gamer’s environment can extend beyond their screen, affecting and reflecting their real-life surroundings. Unique hurdles presented themselves in each project, challenging Covert to deploy its extensive VFX toolkit.

Space Marine: An Epic Battlefield

“It was essentially building a gamer’s dream,” muses Dan. The ‘Space Marine’ spot involved constructing an intricate alien planet battlefield, complete with mechs and spacecraft. The development process was immersive, requiring a close collaboration with Boyle and an agile approach to concept design and storyboarding. “The pre-shoot phase was crucial for setting the scene, allowing us to knit the CGI seamlessly with live-action shots,” adds Dan.

Hoard: Futuristic Cityscapes

The challenge of depicting a futuristic city in ‘Hoard’ tested the skills of Covert’s 3D team. Through multiple iterations and close cooperation with the production team, they crafted a visually compelling opening that set the stage for the narrative. “Testing animations and style frames at each VFX stage was key to our workflow,” Dan explains.

Slayer: From Fantasy to Reality

‘Slayer’ required a delicate balance of imagination and technical precision, as the team brought to life an alien forest teeming with menacing, yet captivating critters. “The transformation of the critters from cute to menacing was particularly fun to develop,” smiles Dan. He highlights the complexities of rendering fur texture and effects that were central to bringing the creatures to life.

Overcoming Technical Hurdles

The creation of these commercials was not without its complications, especially when it came to rendering lifelike textures and effects. “The critter fur in ‘Slayer’ was a particular challenge,” Dan recalls, noting the effort to make the creatures explode in a dazzling display without traditional gore. The team heavily utilized software like C4D, Blender, and Nuke, with Nuke’s deep compositing features proving indispensable for managing complex scenes.

An integral part of the process was Covert’s internal team of gaming aficionados, who Dan refers to as the “authenticity police.” Their insights ensured that each sequence remained true to its gaming roots, an aspect further reinforced by director Boyle’s initial vision. This authentic perspective was crucial in maintaining a credible connection with the gaming community, enhancing the overall impact of the campaign.

Final Thoughts

From extensive pre-visualization work to on-set data collection geared towards perfecting post-production VFX, the team at Covert, under Dan Andrew’s direction, exemplifies the intricate dance between creativity and technical know-how. Through their relentless pursuit of excellence and innovation, they have not only contributed to the promotion of a leading gaming brand but also enriched the visual storytelling medium within the advertising domain.

Alienware’s campaign stands as a testament to what can be achieved when imaginative concepts meet cutting-edge technology, wrapped in a narrative that speaks directly to the hearts of gamers worldwide. It’s this bridge between the digital fantasies and real-world experiences that Covert has so beautifully constructed, inviting everyone to truly ‘Be More Alien.’

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