Project Information

Top Gear

We’re really pleased to have worked closely with the BBC on a beautiful sequence for Top Gear, the world-renowned motoring show

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Jon Richards

Outpost VFX Producer

Andy Burrow

Outpost VFX Supervisor

Steve Molloy


The sequence depicts a race between two Japanese cars and required us to put an anime spin on it using 2D and 3D techniques, as well as extensive digital illustrations and Flash animation.

“Our client was keen to depict the comparison between the two featured Japanese cars – a Honda and a Lexus – using iconic Japanese artistic styles whilst framing the car race as a feudal battle between a Samurai warrior and a ninja,” said Steve Molloy, Creative Director at Outpost VFX.

“Jon, the Director, had a very clear idea of what he wanted, but we produced an extensive mood board of imagery drawn from historical Japanese paintings and illustrations, to modern Anime and Manga as well as concept art and cinematic reference. Once Jon had highlighted his preferred imagery – a combination of Sumi-e brush paintings and anime comic books – I then set about defining a unified look that encompassed both styles.”

After defining a creative vision, Steve and his team began work in earnest to bring the stylised sequence to life.

“For the background ink and wash effect I used Procreate on the iPad, as the built in Sumi-e brush was the best tool to create a natural painted look in a digital format.”

“The samurai and ninja were hand animated using Flash as full sequences or as looping run cycles. The 3D cars were animated and rendered using Maya and Arnold, in some instances as a simple looping sequence that could then be repeated to produce longer sequences. All of these animated elements and layered backgrounds were then brought into After Effects or Nuke for final output.

We’re extremely proud of the sequence and relished the opportunity to work on something so stylised and different from what we’ve done before. The episode aired on 11 March and is available to watch on demand on BBC iPlayer.

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