Rhinoceros Animates Mr. Potato Head

Rhinoceros Visual Effects & Design animated Hasbros Talk N Pop Mr. Potato Head in "Dont Push" (:30/:15). Talk 'N Pop is Hasbro's new Mr. Potato Head toy. Rhinoceros created a five-second fantasy opening that brings Mr. Potato Head to life. In the short sequence, Mr. Potato Head's curiosity compels him to push a mysterious button which, to his surprise, makes his features fly off. The sequence leads into live-action, showing kids having fun with their new friend. The spot was produced using Softimage|XSI and rendered in Mental Ray. Final Gathering, an intensive rendering process that creates the natural look of color diffusion and soft illumination, was used to render the photo-realistic Mr. Potato Head. This project was Rhinoceros first venture using XSI for production, but it met their needs. "On this job, some of our favorite XSI traits were the polygonal modeling tools, Render Passes and Final Gathering," CG director David Barosin explained. "The Potato Head character was modeled in polygons and geometric approximation was used to smooth out the shapes for rendering. The animation rig was quite easy to do. Several Custom Parameter Sets were made to facilitate the animation process. These sets had sliders that controlled the eyes, mouth, fingers and scaling of the arms. The mouth was primarily animated using shapes but also had additional enveloping to allow for finer control. Deformations such as a lattice and shape jitter were also used on the body for some subtle effects." The lighting and rendering was designed around the Final Gathering process. In this technique the surface intensity, color and proximity of one object will contribute to the illumination of another object in the scene (and vice versa). For this job a hemisphere was placed over the entire scene which had a texture map to describe the location of the key light. Additional passes were created for highlights and shadows. Mattes were also rendered to create the contact effect of the lips pressing against the screen.

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