What is Uberversary?
Uber wanted to celebrate the milestones their customers reach in a new way. Traditionally, when you use Uber for 4 years for instance, you get an email of appreciation. To bolster these accomplishments, they came up with the idea of bring those milestones to life visually. To do that, they commissioned the lovely and talented Adriana Mora Martínez
to design a city with buildings made of sculptural numbers like monuments. Depending on the milestone, that particular monument will be sent to you as a number to brighten your day.
They wanted to push it even further which is where we came in. Through animation mostly, but lighting, texturing, camera moves, and a little music, we helped the team bring each accomplishment to life with these fun looping gifs and videos customers could enjoy with each email they received. Here is how we got there.
Adriana Mora Martínez
creates these wonderful shape based sculptural compositions in 3d. They are colorful and bold, but lit naturally and so pretty and joyful. they were a wonderful starting point inspirationally for a city landscape that could fit perfectly with what the Uber rider experience could be.
From here, a really need set of number monuments were built. Not only were the number monuments and buildings around them city inspired, but they were placed on square like platforms to suggest city blocks with nice little roads in between for the cars. This was a major step in explaining the idea of the rider experience in a joyfully designed way.
This is when we entered the picture into the production. To help bring these to life, our first step was to do lighting, texturing and look dev. Right out of the gate, our first instinct narratively was to start close up so viewers would emotionally invest in the car ride. Then, shot by shot but quickly, the camera pulls back to reveal the number within the animation. This element of surprise felt like an exciting way to engage viewers. Our first step to figure out that was a design phase exploring angles and looks.
It didn't feel quite enough to just make the visuals pretty. We needed a story. What emerged pretty quickly is that one little ride you take can be a monumental one. It's easy, it's pleasant, and when riding an Uber, it's an elevated experience. Starting close up and following a car on a rather smooth ride, then revealing the milestone was the simple visual way we took to tell this story.
Look Dev, 3d, lighting & Composition.
Our artists immediate instinct was to light each scene in a more photorealistic way using natural HDRI's and a lot of reflections on the cars and scenes. To help create a sense of intimacy, we played with the scale of light so the shadows were longer and softer. This complimented what we were doing narratively with the close up to wide story arcs really well.
To achieve this, we worked mostly in Maxon Cinema4d and Redshift to render.
Once we had developed a good look and storyboards for what we wanted these animations to look like, our first step was previs. Basically just rough blockings of what each of the animations would look like in terms of camera moves, timing, smoothness and even where the car drives. They took many rounds to evolve, but it gave us and our client a great first idea of how these would come to life.
Rough animation to final.
From previs, our next step were rough animations with full lighting. This is were we dialed in both the smoothness of animation but also got to see how the lighting and shadows were working. It also revealed any hiccups in textures or the model we could fix. And finally, color correction and exposure balance. From here, we simply refined with the client until we got all of the animations looking great and optimized for final deliver.
Creative Director: PJ Richardson
Producer: Chris Engle
Lead Design & Modeling: Adriana Mora Martinez
Design & Lighting: Eugene Gauran
Animation, Texture, and Lighting: Joel Berroteran, Joel Thomas, Pedro Murteira, Peter Garay, Brandon Mathews, Chia Liu