Bartle Bogle Hegarty
The Mill Producer:
Eva Maria Kuehlman
Persil’s Roboboy, directed by Philippe Andre, tells the touching story of a sad-eyed little robot who gradually transforms into a real living, breathing and playing boy as he kicks up the dry leaves, feels the grass under his feet, picks up a worm, catches raindrops on his tongue and sloshes about in a very muddy puddle.
The narrative unfolds very naturally – but making the visual FX appear so effortless required a great deal of pre-planning from Barnsley and the 3D team (Dan Elliot, Mario Ucci, Vincent Baertsoe, Douglass Lassance, Eva Maria Kuehlman and Aiden Gibbons) as well as Adam Scott on telecine.
"I’m a firm believer in utilising more than one approach," says Barnsley.
The spot was made using a full-scale model of the robot, operated by puppeteers, for the first half of the commercial, replacing it with a CG version as the ad progresses, and occasionally combining the two. One of the trickiest aspects was the early live-action sequence, which required the removal of the puppeteers’ shadows and their footsteps in the leaves (whilst leaving the robot’s shadow). This was done by tracking the live action and clean plate together, and applying some intensive paintwork.
But, says Barnsley, "The real meat of the project for us was to get our CG model to interact with the water, splashing in the puddles." The team achieved this by dressing the boy in very simple blue ‘robot pyjamas’ and getting him to jump and frolic in the mud and puddles. The boy was then removed with the help of similar empty passes, and a CG robot was rotoscoped, matching his movements. Finally the splashing about in the puddle was restored on top of a well-lit CG model. Excellent reference plates for every shot enabled the team to match details with incredible precision."
(Source: The Mill)