Framestore has just completed VFX work on its second Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut spot for Leo Burnett. The commercial – which draws on Framestore's experience with CG dinosaurs that began 13 years ago with the BBC's Walking with Dinosaurs – gave Framestore an opportunity to ditch historical reality and create a CG dinosaur from scratch.
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 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, modeller Mary Swinnerton transformed the designs into a CG asset using Maya, ZBrush and Mari to create an extremely realistic and intimidating dinosaur.
The animators 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.
Using lighting reference gathered from the shoot, the compositors were able to accurately recreate the set’s atmospheric lighting within Maya. Further realism was added to the dinosaur by creating a muscle system, which created the sensation of weight around the CG creature.
CG elements were then composited using Nuke. The compositing team used dust, debris, sparks, saliva and lighting effects to help convincingly embed the dinosaur into back plates.