Lovingly hand-crafted sets merge flawlessly with lifelike CG in Tetra Pak's latest spot, directed by Bent Image Lab's Rob Shaw in collaboration with the Philipp und Keuntje agency of Hamburg. The playful :30 animation showcases Bent's ability to handle challenging projects with multiple angles - in this case developing an approachable spokes-character to deliver a serious environmental message and designing detailed, super-productive landscapes to create a humorous overtone.
Raw Materials stars Bob, goodhearted CG rabbit and expert on renewable resources. He discusses the benefits of Tetra Pak's use of paper over plastic in its innovative food packaging as he travels through three landscapes. During his journey, Bob compares paper's sustainable source (trees) to the merits of grain and wool. He earnestly seeks to communicate the virtues of well-managed resources but has to contend his extremely abundant environment, which seems to have a mind of its own.
In order to find just the right person for the job, the Bent team undertook an in-depth creation process to discover how Bob ticks. They began by writing a history including the rabbit's appearance, background, age, personality quirks, and interests. The result was personable rabbit character inspired by Bob Newhart's "everyman vulnerability" with a dash of Kermit the Frog.
From there, the team drew sketches, which were the basis for the detailed CG model of the character. Bent then built, animated and composited the model it into the spot.
"If our spokesman is your solid, educated straight man, then the environment is his loony, vibrant, comic partner," said Shaw. "Philipp und Keuntje's script was brilliant. It called for more than just repeating that renewable resources are good for the environment. They wanted to let the landscape demonstrate that properly managed resources can create so much abundance it's almost funny."
In the opening scene, Bob praises grain's renewable nature as the entire wheat field around him is harvested by an invisible force and launched skyward. The wheat returns to earth as a shower of bread, burying the jolly rabbit, and grows back before Bob can recover. To achieve the fluid performance of the magic wheat field, Bent designed a 3D particle system made up of tens of thousands of digital reproductions of paper-art wheat stalks which were composited into a handmade set of rolling hills.
The spot then shifts to a bucolic meadow, another practical set, where the wool literally leaps off of a CG sheep in the background before reappearing and weaving itself into a sweater on the ebullient Bob. As he speaks, a fresh coat of wool grows on the embarrassed grazer.
The final scene finds Bob amidst a vast, hand-crafted forest as stop-motion animated trees are sucked into the ground and reappear as Tetra Pak products. In order to create this lush setting, the Bent team created a 25-foot-deep practical set which included clay mushrooms, 14 types of fabric for ground cover and more than 200 model trees. The CG spokes-rabbit seamlessly interacts with these practical surroundings, explaining the company's commitment to paper packaging while he dodges the new trees sprouting up rapidly around him.