VFX company MPC has released a behind the scenes video (above) to show how it created Three's adorable viral Sing It Kitty campaign, which stars Bronte, a cute singing cat.
Set to Starship's We Built This City, Bronte can be seen singing along to the 80s anthem from the basket of his young owners pink bicycle in the new TV spot, which is the brainchild of ad agency W+K London and was directed by filmmaker Traktor.
Of course, cats can't actually sing, so it was up to MPC's VFX team to develop and animate a digital double of Bronte, which included recreating his skeleton, muscle structure and fur in 3D.
The real Bronte was carefully selected as a starting point for MPC's team to work from. He was chosen based on his colouring and relaxed personality, which MPC used to help create a realistic CG double of the cat in terms of both appearance and movement.
After developing a detailed 3D model of Bronte, MPC put a rig in place to set up the bone structure and muscle systems. In order to get a better understanding of how a kitten's anatomy works, MPC studied hairless Sphynx cats and also paid close attention to Bronte after bath time, as his wet fur made his anatomy much easier to study.
Propriety software tool Furtility was used to develop Bronte's fur, while footage of an actor singing the famous lyrics combined with clips of cats yawning and snarling were used to recreate the appropriate mouth movements on the cat.
"We collaborated closely with Traktor and W+K on developing Bronte's personality to bring him to life," said MPC VFX supervisor Bill McNamara. "Working on his movement and attitude, we help his confidence grow from a shy little kitten to a full-blown performer belting out the lyrics. His eyes were key to his charisma and our animators developed the expressions to get some real emotion into his performance."
When it came to introducing the character to the real-life environment used for the shoot, MPC created a 3D model of the entire location to ensure all lighting conditions were replicated before Bronte was composited into the shots.
To coincide with the campaign, viewers can star in their own Sing It Kitty music video by submitting a photograph of their face here.
Three's Sing It Kitty advert (below), which has racked up almost 5 million YouTube views since it was released on 20 February, continues the carrier's 'Silly Stuff' campaign, which includes the viral Dance Pony Dance campaign from February 2013.