Sea Ray Employs Troy-based Midcoast Studio for 3D Visualization Project


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Midcoast Studio uses CGI and 3D visualization to turn engineering data into photo-realistic images.

Photo Courtesy: Midcoast Studio

Though most of their work for the past decade has been preparing marketing martials for FCA US, Troy-based digital production studio Midcoast Studio was recently commissioned to create marketing content for the boating industry, including Sea Ray’s content for the 2017 Miami Boat Show, where they debuted updates to their Sundancer line and a new L-class yacht.

Instead of scheduling a photoshoot in on the coast, hiring talent, prepping the boats, and chartering a helicopter for necessary aerial shots, Sea Ray put Midcoast in charge, using 3D visualization and ocean backdrops to create realistic depiction of the vessel.

“We’ve done stuff for Sea Ray ranging from creating imagery for promotions at various boat shows and they’re running into the problem that a lot of boat companies run into, which is not having boats available to photograph in time for some of these marketing events as they arrive,” says Alex Southern, director of marketing for Midcoast. ““When you start adding up all of these costs, it’s very considerable, as opposed to what we do with our team of about 30 3D artists in Troy, and we’re able to take a background of the ocean and render in a virtual boat. The way we do that is working with engineering data from the manufacturer and apply texture, lighting, and materials to it and make it look like an actual photo.”

Southern adds that Midcoast often adds elements like sunlight and ocean spray to make their 3D visualizations as realistic as possible, because the goal is for the final product to look like a photograph.

Midcoast can even create an image of a boat that doesn’t exist yet, as was the case when a luxury yacht manufacturer wanted to market a new 90-foot yacht that would be custom-built to its buyer’s specifications.

“A lot of times with yachts, once they purchase them, it’s basically a made-to-order business model,” Southern adds. “Once someone buys it, the likelihood they’re going to let you borrow it for the weekend to do a photoshoot is very, very low. So we provide imagery and repurpose similar photography, which is a lot of cost savings for them.”

Collaborating with the marketing, design, and engineering teams at Sea Ray, Midcoast leveraged CAD design data to produce photo-real boat imagery, with live talent incorporated into the 3D imagery to effectively portray the Sea Ray lifestyle. The resulting visuals were promoted across Sea Ray’s corporate website, Facebook, and Twitter to garner enthusiasm and support leading up to the Miami show. Sea Ray’s online ‘virtual boat builder’, which is currently in development and slated for completion later this year, also makes use of CGI imagery.

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