Coke "Hidden Formula" is one of the largest undertakings I was involved in over the last few years. I just came across this video that shows the breakdown of all the CG elements.
The Whales Belly
The first breakdown comes at 00:24 in. In this section, we reveal that everything is inside a chest, on a ship, inside a whale's belly. The trickiest part of this was that when you see the ship deck, it's real. We created a 4 foot ship deck on our sound stage and the witch doctor was animated as a stop motion character. Since our motion control camera's couldn't back up far enough to pull out, we had to match all this to a smaller cg version somewhere in the shot. We ended up using one of the sail;'s ropes to hide the wipe to a 2d plate that was tracked in.
The water in the whales belly didn't come out as good as I hoped, but it worked. I used real flow to simulate a whale belly with water sloshing back and forth in it. I then found the spot where the water sloshed the best, and slipped it in time so that it matched where the pull out happened. I also calculated a real flow simulation for the froth, and used Krakatoa from Thinkbox Software to render the froth. In the end we also added some real water elements to make it more convincing.
The Extinct Volcano
The second breakdown is at 00:55 in the video. The volcano itself was actually tricky. I wanted it to have a very detailed surface from very close up, but also look good from afar, and I didn't really want to cross fade to 3 different models. Instead of trying to Zbrush some crazy hi detail model, I choose to tile and layer several hi res images for a displacement map. The results worked really nicely, unfortunately, it took over an hour a frame for just the volcano pass. To render it, I let all out machines pound on it over a full weekend. (A couple weekends as the directors changed things a bit.) Real flow surface was used for the water inside the volcano, and real flow and Krakatoa were used for the splashes. (I'd like to do a whole thing on Particles and Krakatoa.) A simple Particle Flow system was used for the waterfall, rendered with Krakatoa. The meerkat and the whale were fairly strait forward since we do characters at Bent all day long. The hair for the meerkat was 3dsmax's hair and fur.
This was a very challenging spot but also very rewarding. I hope to do more work like this in the future. Thanks to everyone that helped me on this job. I'm sure I was pretty stressed out during it, and probably somewhat of a dick so thanks.