Maxon – The Power of Imagination

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A ninja battles an unusual villain in an award-winning spot for Selsil’s NINJA super glue.

Istanbul, Turkey-based Lighthouse VFX creates all manner of animated shorts and commercials for top brands at home and around the world —Turkish Airlines, Airtel, Riot Games’ “League of Legends” and ING bank — to name a few.

But the studio’s recent launch film for Selsil’s NINJA super glue was particularly exceptional. Made using Maya, Substance Painter, Redshift and DaVinci Resolve, the film outshined many animated series and earned four top design and animation awards in Turkey.

Lighthouse VFX Founder Arman Sernaz has been working in the industry since 1998, starting as a 3D artist in television and post houses. He recalls his desire to start his own studio: “I really wanted to bring a more artist-oriented perspective to our region. We have become a home to artists who want to fulfill their potential and excel at their craft.”

Sernaz and his spouse, Ms. Gamze, who is VP, have spent the past decade building their studio, which is in their hometown and employs an in-house team of animators, VFX artists and motion designers who collaborate in a nurturing environment designed to help everyone hone and elevate their skills.

For the Selsil project, which was helmed by the Büro agency, the Lighthouse VFX team created an animation that felt like the shows they liked to watch growing up. It helped that the product name included the word, ninja, which opened up a whole world of creative ideas. And the hero ninja’s red mask is a direct nod to Selsil’s NINJA glue logo.

“We wanted to place the action inside of a child’s imagination,” Sernaz says, explaining how the team experimented with storylines that involved the breaking of dishes and glassware during stylized battle scenes.

The challenge was to create an imaginary foe capable of bringing viewers back into reality when the commercial with the big reveal that makes clear the villain is a green vase in a child’s living room.

Sernaz wanted the vase to feel like a character of its own, pulling influence from Roman, Greek and Asian porcelain pottery. The challenge of showing an inanimate object's emotions was solved by incorporating and animating the lines often seen on pottery while maintaining the look of a traditional vase.

“Redshift’s power made it possible for us to render the entire project in-house,” Sernaz recalls, adding that Redshift is one of the key tools that has made it possible for the studio to work with large clients, like Riot Games.

“And I want to salute all the challenges we have faced during the past 15 years that forged us, made us wiser and made us unite to become one brave family,” Sernaz says. “We’re now standing on the final frontier, keeping our gaze on the horizon to welcome the most awaited chapter of our journey; the making of our first animated feature film.”