CG Dinosaur Terrifies Kitchen Staff
January 2, 2013

CG Dinosaur Terrifies Kitchen Staff

In its second Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut spot for Leo Burnett, Framestore created 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 computer-generated 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 re-created in CGI.

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 Modeler Mary Swinnerton transformed the designs into a CG asset using Autodesk’s Maya, Pixologic’s ZBrush, and The Foundry’s 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 while 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 backplates. Using lighting reference gathered from the shoot, they were able to accurately re-create 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 The Foundry’s Nuke. The compositing team used dust, debris, sparks, saliva and lighting effects to help convincingly embed the dinosaur into backplates.

The spot was graded by Framestore’s award-winning colorist Simon Bourne, who worked closely with the director to achieve a dark and moody feel that retained color subtlety while picking out lights and reflections around the kitchen’s metallic surfaces.

View the spot at