Computer Graphics World

April 2011

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■ ■ ■ ■ CG•Live Action It takes a studio with a particularly zany brand of humor to produce a live-action fi lm star- ring the Easter Bunny, but then Illumination Entertainment, which produced the wildly popular animated feature Despicable Me, did just that. Universal Pictures (in association with Relativity Media) released Hop, a family comedy starring a CG Easter Bunny and his son on April Fool’s Day, April 1. Tim Hill, who most recently directed Alvin and the Chipmunks, directed Hop. Rhythm & Hues (R&H) provided the CG elements, the Easter Bunny voiced by Hugh Laurie; the Easter Bunny’s son, E.B., voiced by Russell Brand; and several other CG bunnies and chicks, including Carlos, a large chick who is the factory foreman (Hank Azaria), Carlos’s sidekick Phil (also Azaria), and three Pink Beret bunnies. All told, R&H created 600 shots, including two full-CG environments for sequences beginning and ending the fi lm. Th e CG sequences take place in the Easter Bunny’s candy factory on, of course, Easter Island. Th ere, bunnies and chickens working in a Willy Wonka-like candy factory pump out Hershey’s Kisses, chocolate bunnies, and other sweet things, and place them in baskets for the Easter Bunny to deliver to children around the world. Jelly beans pour from a giant Easter egg-shaped building, and a river of jelly beans churn through the factory. Hop opens with a sequence in the factory, with the Easter Bunny showing young E.B.—and the audience—his inheritance. E.B., however, has a hipper idea. He wants to be a drummer—in Hollywood. When the teenage E.B. teleports off Easter Island and into Los Angeles, Hop becomes a live-action fi lm starring James Marsden as Fred. Th e unfortunate Fred hits E.B. with his car, guiltily agrees to take in the long-eared, recalcitrant teen, and the story takes off . Pappa Easter Bunny orders his ninja Pink Beret bunnies to bring E.B. home. Meanwhile, back on the island, Carlos wants the Easter Bunny’s job. Use your smartphone to view related video clips. 22 Supervising the animation at Rhythm & Hues was Andrew Arnett, who had previously been animation supervisor for Hill’s Alvin and the Chipmunks, among many other fi lms. At R&H, animators work with models and rigs in the studio’s proprietary Voodoo software, with an oc- casional assist from Autodesk’s Maya for custom face shapes. For crowd animation, the studio uses Massive software. Here, Arnett discusses the work the studio did for Hop with CGW West Coast editor Barbara Robertson. April 2011

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