Behind the Work in association withThe Immortal Awards

Creating Casper’s CGI Environments with Steelworks

Post Production
London, UK
CGI and animation specialist studio Steelworks’s executive producer Chago Venable on bringing the sleep company’s mattresses to life

It’s a tricky task, bringing fabrics to life with CGI to a photo-real level. And it’s something brands are gearing towards more and more, thanks to CGI’s ability to capture the environments in a photo-real, adaptable, and fluid fashion.

For Steelworks, it’s where the studio excels. Executive producers Chago Venable and Hannah Byers-Brown tell LBB how, in a series of projects with US consumer brand and sleep company Casper, Steelworks took the brand to the next level, elevating the creative to a new, luxurious magnitude with lifelike CGI and animation.   

Chago and Hannah take LBB behind the scenes on the studio’s work with Casper, explaining how they’ve been able to capture the precise detail and textures of the different Casper products across multiple campaigns, from creating the brand’s room environments for the last few years to the ‘Snow’ project in 2021. 

LBB>What did Casper want to achieve with these campaigns? And how did you respond to the brief? 

Chago>Casper reached out to us for help with illustrating the cooling capabilities of the Snow Cooling Technology they use in their mattresses and sheets. We responded with a storyboard that communicated our idea of different short animations that showed how heat was wicked away from the body. We illustrated the process by having warm tones transition to cooler tones in the animation.  

LBB>Can you walk us through the technical side - what’s your initial reaction to projects of this kind, what comes into play? 

Chago>Getting a firm grasp on client needs is very important in the early stages of development. Casper is a long-standing client of Steelworks, so this was a lot easier. 

Working with our team of artists we were able to quickly come up with a storyboard that the client was very happy with early on. With speed, our team was able to take those initial concepts and weave them into a dynamic story that met all of the stakeholders’ needs.

LBB>What were the dates for each project, and how did the first inspire/allow for the latter? 

Chago>Production for the Snow Cooling Casper project started in mid-January and the last of several deliverables was submitted in early April.

Hannah>As mentioned earlier, we have been working on the static room environment work with Casper for a few years now, consistently developing and expanding the look for those which led to more creative needs from Casper. We kicked off the Snow project in early 2021 and have continued to develop and push Casper’s creative ever since. 

LBB>Why do you think brands like Casper - home furnishing, interiors - are looking to CGI? What does it allow them to achieve? 

Chago>It allows for quicker edits and a more fluid process for the creatives, where scenes and environments can be changed on the fly. The time of day of course changes, and other creative explorations can be quickly visualised in ways that would be a lot more difficult in a traditional photographic workflow. There are other logistical hurdles that are avoided in a CGI process, as well, such as the shipping of furniture samples to different locations.

LBB>What are the differences between the projects? I’d love to touch on the movement in Casper - ‘SNOW’ here. 

The difference with the SNOW project is that we went beyond our (somewhat) standard room environments that we had been developing with Casper over the past few years. We have done animations for them before, but these were generally different angles of our standard rooms with camera movement. For SNOW they wanted a stark studio environment, with a colour treatment that illustrated the transfer of heat. This, along with moving cut-away views of the interior elements, gave the consumer a dynamic “snapshot” of the different features of the mattresses and the technology behind them.

LBB>What drew Steelworks to this work with Casper?

Chago>I think the attraction between Casper and Steelworks was a natural progression. We became a trusted partner over the years and we were becoming increasingly eager to prove that we could do much more to help elevate their brand. 

LBB>I honestly can’t believe this is CGI! Is that the reaction you were aiming for with this work? 


LBB>And what was your favourite part of the process? 

Chago>For me, it was seeing the colours and textures come to life as we progressed through the different stages of development. I have worked on the Casper projects for years and this was the first time I was seeing the mattresses really come to life.

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