London independent creative visual effects (VFX) and animation company Coffee & TV reveal its creative process behind animating a real dog to look like it's singing using ZBrush for the Go Outdoors summer 2018 campaign.

In this exclusive 'making of' video, see how Coffee & TV’s CG department sculpted and manipulated the real head of Charlie the dog, complete with wobbly jowls, facial fur and inner mouth. The dog was filmed in a live action shoot of a family having fun outdoors for UK outdoor goods retailer, Go Outdoors. Charlie needed to be singing along to Gary Barlow’s hit, Let Me Go for the advertisement. This is where Coffee & TV came in.

Watch the final advertisement. 

Watch the team at Coffee & TV model and transform the head of Charlie the dog.

The dog was rigged to allow a significant level of facial control, in order to create realistic jaw, mouth, cheek, tongue and eye movements driven by the lyrics of the song.

The real Charlie was tracked, ready for the CG head to be animated. After photorealistic lighting and rendering in Arnold, the shots were composited using Autodesk's Flame, including enhancements of the facial animation around the mouth, nose and eyes.

Mad Cow Films' production team recorded the live shots, and creative agency Driven bought the concepts. Coffee & TV encouraged Mad Cow to film the dog behaving as naturally as possible, so the director wasn't restricted and to allow Charlie’s character and sense of joy to shine through.

"They say never work with children or animals, but this job was a fantastic adventure," says senior 3D artist, Jonny Grew. "The team’s skills pushed our cutting edge technology to the limit to bring Charlie the dog to life."