Framestore and Framestore Pictures combined their skills on the recent rebrand of Blue Bunny ice cream, a major 3D project to bring the company’s existing mascot to a new audience. The job is another in a string of successful creature transformations for Framestore, bringing 2D characters to life in sophisticated 3D environments across both Film and Integrated Advertising.
Framestore Pictures’ Ben West directed ‘Eyes’, above, the first of several spots within the new campaign. VFX Supervisor Jamie O’Hara led the charge on the pre-production, which called for extensive research into bunny behaviour in order to create the photoreal effect required. It was simultaneously key to create a loveable character, with enough human-like character for audiences to relate to on the small screen, by finding the right emotional cues in the animal’s face and movements.
The team looked far and wide in their research, from real rabbits through to the existing stylized 2D animation, to strike their balance. ‘It was rewarding to create this character from the ground up’, says O’Hara. ‘There was no ’before’ for the 3D rabbit, so in that respect we had a wider brief. With decades of heritage sitting behind this character, we had to make the team at Blue Bunny fall in love all over again’.
The shoot team developed a detailed approach in pre-production including posable prop bunny, storyboards, look development, designs and research into rabbit behaviours and technical lighting approaches. ‘The main advantage of having such extensive experience in Visual Effects at the core of the team is that you can relax, and have confidence in the production process’, says West. ‘It ensures our primary focus on set is good performance and storytelling without ever becoming too technical. It makes the shooting process more instinctive’.
Once fully-formed in 3D, it was Beau Leon’s turn to add the grade to the spot, ensuring a perfectly blue coat in each and every frame. Says Beau of the job, ‘It’s really nice to be able to collaborate so closely with the team in-house. Being able to turn the corner and speak to the director for instant feedback is incredibly useful, and everyone reacted very positively’.
The resulting bunny is a true representation of ‘a fun, playful brand’, says West. ‘Blue Bunny doesn’t take itself too seriously, ice cream’s meant to be fun afterall, and this new Blu captures the theme perfectly”.