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A Year in Review: Playful Worlds Meet Technical Brilliance


Celebrating a year of incredible creativity and ingenuity as Taylor James reflects over its best work of 2021

A Year in Review: Playful Worlds Meet Technical Brilliance

“In 2021, we ‘thought smart and crafted smarter,’ more than ever before! We created a replica of the island of Fiji for TV spots with a score by Hans Zimmer, we built the world's first pixel-streamed, ray-traced kitchen configurator in Unreal, helped a best-selling whisky relaunch their brand, shot on location whilst navigating the challenges presented by Covid both here in the US and overseas, delivered fun animated spots containing a range of styles for an educational streaming service, as well as produce a thought provoking motion graphics campaign for Sandy Hook Promise to encourage tighter gun control. And that’s just a few of our projects. After our best year yet, we look forward to how we can challenge ourselves, innovate, collaborate and create in 2022” - Andrew Hall, VP of business development.

In this round up, Taylor James shares its 2021 highlights…


Honda Civic Hatchback

In collaboration with RPA on the new Honda Civic Hatchback, Taylor James was to deliver 38 all-new images, and 17 CGI updates in a short turnaround. With their traditional pipeline being very linear, the team decided to shift into high gear with their new, innovative UE technology for this project, providing digital twin angle studies of the product.
The main advantage of the technology is that the environment is fully CGI; so clients can pick any angle, any lens with free reign and full control about what they want to shoot. Just like being on a real set.

For the Honda Civic Hatchback, Taylor James had a live session with the team at RPA, making live adjustments while on call with the client. This hybrid approach yields the best possible results, and builds a platform for more efficient and scalable future output. 



AirWick Fresh New Day Scented Oils fill your home with soft fragrances that won't overpower. To show just how much other scents overwhelm, Taylor James decided to build a real potpourri explosion for Airwick's CV with Havas Worldwide. Inspired by filmmakers Wes Anderson, Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Glazer, they chose a spectacular in-camera approach, with a finished product that stuns from start to finish.

With AirWick's emphasis on being natural, they decided live action would be the best approach. The house's door and eight windows were all rigged with air cannons to explode in unison. The explosion is stitched together in the wide shot with different takes combined to create one perfectly choreographed explosion that fills the garden in one sequence. 


Georgia Lottery

A collaboration between SLMBR PRTY director Morgan Gruer and Taylor James, Georgia Lottery’s spot, We Do It For The Kids, takes a vibrant mixed media approach to highlight the endless possibilities their educational funding provides for kids.

Production of the TVC took place in a studio in Georgia with local talent, and follows the path of three imaginative children as they dream up new futures. While the spot brings viewers into the imaginations of pre-school kids, thoughtful art direction and mixed animation styles approached with sophistication and elegance, work to remind adult viewers of their own childhood dreams, and the spark they created.


FIJI Water

Against a cinematic score by composer Hans Zimmer, the FIJI Water campaign takes viewers on a journey from the pristine clouds high above Fiji to an ancient artesian aquifer deep below the surface, demonstrating how nature perfects every rain drop to create FIJI Water.

For this campaign, Taylor James was approached by the Wonderful Agency to help launch FIJI Water’s bold new look through four 15 second spots (Water, Rain, Aquifer and Clouds). An incredibly important part to these films was to stay authentic to the plant life that you would see in Fiji, which the team crafted in CGI.

With safety and sustainability in mind, and with travel restrictions and limitations presented by the pandemic, the spots were shot on a soundstage. A team of about 40 crew members worked over two-days to faithfully replicate Fiji.



Featuring a beloved nursery rhyme, this Rain-X TVC follows the journey of a raindrop from sky to windshield. While the work was originally pitched as a fully CGI production, the client also asked for a touch of humanity. 

With a tight six week timeline and many Covid related hurdles, including the postponement of the Mexico City shoot, the team had to be incredibly flexible to keep the project moving. They quickly pivoted, organising a shoot on private property in less than two weeks, and added more VFX and CGI, stitching shots of two locations to make it look like one city street.


Cole Haan

To showcase the evolution of Cole Haan’s 4.ZERØGRAND Ultra, Taylor James came up with a conceptual and experimental film, celebrating the out-of-this-world materials that go into each iconic shoe.

With a 3D design-heavy approach, the team dove headfirst into research and design tests, playing with plastic polymers as grain simulations, and tweaking materials that push boundaries between physics and magic.



For the launch of Wondrium’s educational streaming service, DiMassimo Goldstein came to Taylor James to create fun, whimsical, mixed media spots, set to catchy original songs showcasing the service's offerings. 

Building a whimsical world that fuses history and math, science and music, and beyond, the spots are highly playful - with 43 different designs and scenes appearing in the two spots. Each individual scene was researched and built, informed by fun facts and thoughtful understanding of each media, pastime, historical figure, or creature. 

The work came together seamlessly thanks to camera moves, thoughtful animation and the Taylor James team working with the agency, the client, and the music house, Groove Guild, like a well-oiled machine.


Sandy Hook Promise

On a vital mission to protect America’s children, Sandy Hook Promise aims to end school shootings and create a culture change that prevents harmful acts against children. 
For this campaign, the nonprofit organisation urged senators to expand the requirement for background checks on firearms to help identify those who are prohibited by federal law from owning them.

Calling on Taylor James, Sandy Hook Promise released an impactful animation spot that asks viewers how they’d like to spend “a couple of minutes”. From watching commercials to checking the score or running to the bathroom, there are plenty of things that only take us a few minutes to complete. 

In comparison to these mundane minutes spent, there are some ways to spend a couple of minutes that could genuinely make a groundbreaking difference to the world - like signing the petition to ask the Senate to move background checks forward.


Signature Kitchen Suite

Signature Kitchen Suite, the luxury kitchen appliance brand of LG Electronics, came to Taylor James to explore the benefits of using CGI to create custom-designed kitchens. In the past, these high-end kitchens were custom built and photographed. Using CG enabled the client to make significant cost savings on the production and allowed the designers endless freedom to make customisations to their kitchen’s layouts, materials, and propping.  

Supplied with CAD data, Taylor James modelled products from reference photography. Each kitchen was to tell a story about the products as well as the type of customer that might use them and where they live, from the Country Modern Kitchen in Oklahoma to Capitol City Kitchen in Washington DC to Cucina Mendocino in California. 

Over 100 images were delivered in order for the brand catalogue to be built out. There were 10 hero kitchen shots, with a further 30 derivatives showing product close ups in-scene. The whole project was completed in 8 weeks.

Bose Soundbar 900

An integrated campaign for the Smart Soundbar 900, featuring a mix of live-action, VFX and CGI. The goal was to create awe-inspiring, cinematic visuals that show what it's like to be truly immersed in the audio landscape of a film at home.

While the campaign video provides an emotional pull, the product videos highlight features of the Soundbar 900. Through experimentation with different wave types, Taylor James landed on a look that closely resembles how sound truly works, creating a particle effect. The camera moves to create a visual symphony that frames each sound, with movement and cuts that match the overall rhythm of the piece. 



A collaboration with photographer Jaap Vliegenthart and Arnold Worldwide on their 2020 campaign, Taylor James created ads to promote Progressive’s motorbike insurance. Playing on the centaur creature from Greek mythology, the ads feature a half man, half motorcycle character known as Motaur.

With archived work from Jaap’s folio and stock imagery from Getty, Taylor James put together low-res comps and technical pre-vis ahead of the shoot at Milk Studios in Hollywood. These informed the cameras’ height and required lensing. The team was on set to support Jaap and his crew and offer live retouching, comp reviews, and to ensure each setup would integrate into the chosen location back plates.

Once the final shots were approved, the two halves of Motaur were brought together and carefully integrated into each environment, with corresponding lighting and grading adjustments for a seamless result.

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Taylor James, Fri, 14 Jan 2022 11:25:00 GMT