Thomas Built Buses - Electric Bus


Who could forget the iconic yellow school bus we all know so well? Follow Thomas Built Buses’ exciting new electric journey as they take an icon and modernize it for the next wave of brilliant minds. Bringing this to life, the brief envisioned this new bus, ‘Jouley’, travelling through an all electronic world created in CGI.

Alice Blue asked us if we could collaborate on yet another CGI environment project for their client Thomas Built Buses. The challenge was to create landscapes inspired by real life. City, rural farmland and suburbia. The trick, make it out of computer chips and electronic parts.  Full CGI environment here we go!!!

Creative Solution

Alice Blue sent us base scenes of the first city image they were working on and asked us to produce the following two: Rural and Suburbs. It was important to follow the global look they had already established which making very different scenes. We looked at satellite photography of these areas to get a feel for building distribution and get ideas for layout in order to accomplish this. 

Rural: We went for a largely open design where the surface of the PCB boards would act as fields of crops and sparsely distributed chips would serve as farm houses and silos. 

Suburbs: This one was a bit harder since the clients wanted a more dense feeling and even sent a stock photo that we were supposed to use as inspiration. Also since these images go back very far into the distance we needed a large area in our CGI. The quickest and most surefire way was to trace satellite photos of a real subdivision with a nice layout and use that as a base for our 3D. It was all done with curves so everything was procedural. We also made heavy use of instancing to scatter about 10 different custom modeled “housing plots” along the roads.


Pixteur Studios / Jesse Zamjahn, Josh Kitney 

Partner Studio / Alice Blue

Client / Thomas Built Buses

Agency / HMH Agency

1 -Subdivision road layout
2 - CGI roads from paths
3 - Camera framing
4 - Housing design
5 - Final Modeling & Layout
6 - Custom PCB board shaders
7 - Shade, Texture, Light & Render
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Once we had all the elements in place it was a matter of layout out the scenes and working on lighting. We wanted to get the nice reflections and sheen from the electrical components as well as give these a real landscape feel. Also we avoided the urge to use a short depth of field, which would have made these look like miniatures. 

We rendered the scenes in 12k resolution using redshift with full AOV’s for creative post work. We did most of the post work on these and Alice Blue handled the finishing touches. Another fun collaboration that we are proud of. 



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