Cathay Pacific Airways Happy 60th!
- Cathay Pacific Airlines
- McCann, Hong Kong
Making extinct planes fly again is an exciting thing. Cathay Pacific Airways decided, as part of their 60th birthday celebrations, to recreate eight of their fleet of aircraft from 1946 – some of which had no surviving models at all.
Above is the Chrome DC3 – only one of which still exists, parked up outside Cathay’s headquarters. Others included Airbuses and MacDonald-Douglases that just don’t exist any more.
This meant that we got to entirely remodel each plane from scratch using a wide array of visual references, original blueprints and even some accurate miniature scale models that we managed to track down. Everything had to be spot on, right down to the liveries on the planes and the background locations relected in the metalwork.
The images needed to be produced in phenomenally high detail and resolution: these images were blown up to nearly 1/5 scale for use in 80 metre long posters along travelators in airports in Hong Kong. The texture maps were enormous and rendering the images at such high resolution required the use of specialist software developed by the geniuses at Pixar.
“At the time, this was a pretty hardcore job. It was a massive undertaking: we had eight different modelmakers, one on each plane, working round-the-clock, pretty much. And we had six weeks to do it in, which is unbelievable, really” – Our Chris, still sounding slightly shell-shocked.
The look and feel that Cathay were after was something very nostalgic, yet real: we couldn’t “cheat” the tone using an illustrative style. Instead we crafted the colour grade and camera angles to recall mid-twentieth century photography and leant on the public’s own associations to conjure up the retro feel.
And something clearly felt right: Cathay’s campaign was awarded various awards, including one for “Most Popular Consumer Campaign”, in a year that say the company crowned Airline of the Year that year. Happy Birthday indeed!
There are more CG planes for you to spot, from in-flight cross-sections to aerospace ice sculptures, below…