But: why CG an animal? Well, animals and characters are obviously popular and effective devices in marketing – and we wanted to show off the long term value of using a CG animal as part of a client’s brand assets. It can be used many times: ad infinitum, in fact. In myriad positions and locations, animated or still, across all media and all platforms. It never changes – unless, of course, you want it to, in which case it can laugh, cry, grow, age, lose weight, gain hair, change colour, turn to stone or melt (even if it’s a piglet…). It’ll save you money and give you opportunities. It’s a powerful and economical weapon in a brand’s armoury.
To create absolute animal lifelikeness, photorealism and personality – and be believable – remains one of the hardest challenges in CGI. We picked the most difficult thing we could imagine to do and spent time developing new ways of creating a photorealistic animal that could hold up to the scrutiny of print quality resolution.
We achieved this by using lots of reference images and footage and emulating techniques used in the film industry. We’ve also rigged him to be completely controllable from his ears to his hooves: he can do literally anything you want!
The result is Hamlet, piglet with personality. One of the key things we wanted to achieve was to make him look as realistic as possible, but to also give him character. We wanted people to react with intrigue – to be drawn in by his inquisitive eye and scrutinise him back – and to be fooled into thinking he’s real. And they are…