The MINI Vision Urbanaut

The MINI Vision Urbanaut

Eye Candies, Inspiring Artwork, a Digital Special and Instagram Filters.

The MINI Vision Urbanaut embodies what a MINI might look like with a larger and more versatile interior than ever – but still with a minimal footprint. Above all, the Vision vehicle showcases the experiences on offer in keeping with the concept of “Make it your Space”. The name of the new “vision of space” is inspired by its urban roots as well as its versatile character, inviting the driver to explore the full range of possibilities within and beyond city limits in a totally new way. Its spontaneous adaptability opens up fresh perspectives which surprise and excite.

For the all-online release of this Vision Vehicle we were trusted with creating quite some different elements. There are animations, dubbed "Eye Candies", highlighting the three different moments of the MINI Vision Urbanaut: Chill, Wanderlust and Vibe. We created huge res print images for, well, print. Additionally we were heading the creation of a digital special needed for various webpage usages. And finally there's also an Instagram filter which you can use to try out our graphical style on yourself.

Eye Candy Animations


The “driving moment” represents the joy of being on the road. Wanderlust is the allure of unwinding while you travel, exploring and seeking out new experiences and impressions – in the city, but also beyond urban areas, feeling (temporarily) at home wherever you find yourself.

As Oliver Heilmer, head of MINI design, flips through his sketch book, his drawings take on a life of their own. the MINI Vision Urbanaut is designed to accentuate the journey, whether being driven or taking control yourself. as you wander, passengers discover all possible and impossible places along the way.

The MINI Vision Urbanaut


The MINI moment Vibe puts togetherness – with family and friends, for example – centre stage. It’s all about having a good time in each other’s company, in every way.

Oliver is in his office busy designing the MINI Vision Urbanaut. he imagines what it would be like to use skateboard wheels as tires. in his vision, the car becomes a meeting place where inside and outside merge.

The MINI Vision Urbanaut


The Chill moment invites you to catch a breath and pause in the here and now. The car becomes a kind of retreat, a haven where you can relax – or work with full concentration – during a journey.

As Oliver is walking through the city when he stumbles upon a missing cobblestone. small plants grow in this gap, and they look almost like a small jungle. he imagines what it would be like to have a place of peace now, a place of retreat, or even an urban oasis.

The MINI Vision Urbanaut

A quick look behind the illustrations

Creation of these animations started with quite an extensive graphical design phase where we developed the general look of the MINI Vision Urbanaut world. Goal was to create a world that is very stylized and abstract, playfull and adaptable to the three moments yet keeping a consistent style.

For the illustrations of people (which there were quite a lot in all the different pieces we had to create) we created an 3d animatic version of everything we needed before going out and shooting people doing all moves. That footage was then taken as a base for hand drawing the illustration frames. Most of the shots where illustrated in 12.5 frames/second ("on twos") for a proper hand drawn look and also to save time. We created about 3 minutes of animations with animated illustrations in, so saving a few frames was quite neccessary. Shots with fast moving action though, like the ones featuring SkaterGirl, had to be illustrated at a full 25 fps.

The graphical worlds of the three moments was quite diverse yet matching a greater scheme. For this we created a basic color and also shapes pallette that served as a reference for the creation of every world. Wanderlust, for it's moving nature, was more edgy. Toned in yellow colors, featuring triangles as the classic "Go! Play" Iconography for example. These very simple color/shape mood slides helped us a lot to keep everything consistent across the many applications in print and animation we had to do.


The MINI Vision Urbanaut
The MINI Vision Urbanaut
The MINI Vision Urbanaut

Shooting for the Intro/Outro scenes of each Eye Candy MINI moment took place over three days. Oliver Heilmer (Head of Mini Design) acted the scenes out in three different locations we scouted. Heading the shoot ourselves made sure that all matching points where real life transitions into full cg were actually working out. Every eye candy film had that transitioning point where we pretty much dive into the imaginatory world of Oliver and can see the creative mind at work. Those transition were quite peculiar to create and required good vfx planning for the shoot.

In terms of vfx transitions that required solid tracking and postwork we had:

  • a push back camera move starting close on a city map where we hand to seamlessly incorporate the moving car
  • real skater wheels that needed to start spinning, light up and transition to the cars wheels
  • a "flipping book pages" setup where we accellerate the speed of the flipping to end up in the cars display
The MINI Vision Urbanaut

Inspiring Artwork: Print

Headed by Creative Director Sebastian Onufszak these super high res prints were created to reflect all three MINI moments. Transitioning the same style as the Eye Candy animations these also rely heavinly on an abstract 3d environement enhanced by hand drawn illustrations, combining everything into a fantastic artsy, graphical world.

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Instagram Filter

For the Eye Candy animations three completely discrete, original graphical worlds were created. Chill, Vibe and Wandlust all got their own distinct graphical style which makes the world recognizeable immediately.

To put yourself right into the center of those worlds an Instagram Filter was created which offers those three graphical worlds as options. Use that filter to dive deep into the world of MINI Vision Urbanaut.

The filter can be found here: NEXTGen Urbanaut Filter

The MINI Vision Urbanaut
The MINI Vision Urbanaut

Digital Special, Design Snippets

For usage on MINIs webspecial pages and around the internet we headed the creation of various design snippets. Excecution was done by AlphaFlare in a realtime engine to cater for quick last minute changes. Design snippets were created as animated camera flys to highlight all different aspects of the MINI Vision Urbanaut. Here's a few screengrabs from these camera fly animations:

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Client: BMW Group, Munich, Germany

Head of Mini Design: Oliver Heilmer
Creative Direction: Uta Bodenstein, Julia Obermeier, Till Jenninger 
Project Team: Hannes Ziesler, Nicole Prinz, Raphael Jasinski
Head of Design Identity: Fabio Olivotti

Design: Aixsponza, Munich, Germany


ProjectTeam @Aix for "Eye Candies":

Creative Director: Christian Tyroller
Producer: Julian Fischer
Art Director: Dominik Högn, Christian Scheck, Dennis Tiege, Stefan Voigt
3D Artists: Paul Gröger, Yannik Wenk, Matthias Zabiegly
Illustrations: Paul Grabowski, Laila Petersen
Music / SFX: Michael Fakesch, designingsounds 


DOP: Bartek Latosinski
Styling: Clara Reuter, Charlotte Roser
Hair & MakeUp: Arno Humer, Anja Wenger El Sawaf
Set Design & SFX: Andreas Walther
VFX Set-Supervision: Matthias Zabiegly


Skater Girl: Nicole Adamczyk
Oliver Heilmer: himself

ProjectTeam "Inspiring Artworks":

Creative Director: Sebastian Onufszak
3D Artists: Holger Aumüller, Dobromir Dyankov, Matthias Zabiegly
Illustrations: Paul Grabowski


ProjectTeam "Instagram Filter":

Creative Director: Christian Tyroller
Spark AR Art Director: Felix Preis


ProjectTeam "Design Snippets":

Project Lead: Achim August Tietz
Animation Studio: AlphaFlare