Framestore has just completed its second Kellogg's Crunchy Nut spot for Leo Burnett. The commercial gave Framestore an opportunity to create a CG dinosaur from scratch and fit it into a cramped and effects-laden kitchen.
Written by Leo Burnett creatives, Ed Morris and Andy Drugan, the ad sees an industrial kitchen suddenly invaded - Hollywood style - by a blood-thirsty dinosaur. Two terrified chefs attempt to hide but are rumbled by the giveaway crunch of an irresistible bowl of Kellogg's Crunchy Nut. The spot was directed by MJZ's Rocky Morton, who Framestore recently collaborated with on Hanes Kittens.
The production began with an intensive two-day shoot which focused on capturing performances and scene-setting lighting. VFX supervisor, Alex Doyle, recorded as much lighting reference as possible to ensure the set's terrifying atmosphere could be later recreated in CG.
Doyle was also responsible for designing the dinosaur from scratch, based on an amalgamation of known species. Once the concept art had been approved, lead modeller, Mary Swinnerton, transformed the designs into a CG asset using Maya, ZBrush and Mari to create an extremely realistic and intimidating dinosaur.
Lead Animator, Nigel Rafter, with support from Chris Welsby and Steve Townrow, then faced the challenge of convincingly fitting this enormous 10-foot monster into a cramped industrial kitchen whilst making its aggressive movements look agile and authentic. Live action plates contained many on-set effects which the animators had to work around, ensuring their CG synched perfectly with prop movements and timings.
Doyle worked alongside compositor, Anelia Asparuhova, to integrate the CG dinosaur into back plates. Using lighting reference gathered from the shoot, they were able to accurately recreate the set's atmospheric lighting within Maya. Further realism was added to the dinosaur by creating a muscle system, as developed by Asparuhova, which created the sensation of weight around the CG creature.
CG elements were then composited by Simon Stoney, Anastasios Agiakasikas and Jason Phua using Nuke. The compositing team used dust, debris, sparks, saliva and lighting effects to help convincingly embed the dinosaur into back plates.
The spot was graded by Framestore's award-winning colourist, Simon Bourne, who worked closely with the director to achieve a dark and moody feel that retained colour subtlety whilst picking out lights and reflections around the kitchen's metallic surfaces.