Doner Company, the ad agency behind the new “Dodge Law” campaign, recently reached out to Berkeley, CA’s Tippet Studio (www.tippett.com) to create a computer-generated plush monkey to co-star in a series of 23.7- and 30-second television spots for Dodge.
Directed by Peter Farrelley, the five spots, titled Not So Fast and Furious,
Speech Impediment and
Speak No Evil, feature Chimpowski as the sidekick of reality TV star Richard Rawlings (Discovery Channel's
Fast N' Loud) who both portray police officers encountering unsuspecting motorists.
“The client was impressed with our work on the motion-picture Ted," says Chris Morley, CMO and visual effects supervisor at Tippett Studio, “and wanted to capture the lived-in feel that we achieved with
Ted. The monkey had to project attitude as well, and our animation supervisor Will Groebe always has that dialed in very well.”
According to Morley, Tippett created the Dodge Law Monkey from conceptual design to final integration into the production footage. “We were on-set to supervise the shoot in order to provide suitable conditions for a healthy CG monkey habitat,” he says. “We provided multiple takes of animation for alternate spoken lines and edits, definitely a different process than traditional motion pictures.”
Chimpowski, a “wild line” thrown out during the shoot by Farrelley, was designed by Tippett Studio's art director Mark Dubeau. After the initial 2D design was approved, it was modeled by Jack Kim, and Aharon Bourland handled the fur groom.
Morley adds, “For the shoot, our very own Phil Tippett stepped in and constructed a practical stuffed version of the monkey. Here at Tippett Studio, we never hesitate to create things with our hands as well as our computers.”
The largest challenge for the studio was finishing all five spots from shoot to final delivery in only eights weeks — there were 53 shots with the monkey.
The foundation of Monkey was modeled in Maya and ZBrush. The team then used a combination of Maya, Houdini, and Tippett's proprietary fur software Furator to groom the monkey. For lighting, they used Katana for setup. “This was the first show we utilized the new Renderman/RIS renderer,” adds Morley. “The live render interactivity was a welcomed feature and helped us dial in the lighting faster. We animated in Maya and comp in Nuke.”