Warm up your TVs, portable devices, and hearts (awww), because a second installment of “VeggieTales In The House” was released on Netflix today!
VeggieTales is set in a world where vegetables are the alpha-species. Based around a nutrient packed cast of Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Carrots, Blueberries, Gourds and anything else you’ll find down aisle one of your local supermarket, the ensemble team learn to co-exist, sing songs and tell innumerable ‘dad’ jokes along the way. At twenty years old, with two feature films under its belt, endless DVD specials, and almost 600,000 friends on Facebook, this show is the granddaddy of televised CG entertainment and it’s still pulling its own. Anything that has been pop-referenced by The Simpsons has made its mark, and Veggies fits the bill.
I’m not ashamed to admit it: I’ve wanted to work on Veggies since I was fourteen. And now I’ve been lucky enough to work on it twice! Once on several DVD specials from New Zealand, and now here, with all the talented and attractive faces of Bardel.
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A collaboration with Big Idea (Bob and Larry’s parents) and DreamWorks (Bob and Larry’s sugar daddy), Bardel has taken on the mammoth task to help create a faithful and exciting redesign of the characters and world in a new ‘sitcom’ episodic format for our Netflix audience. And this time around, Bardel has not only taken on Animation and LRC (Lighting, Render, Comp), but the team is buzzing about sticking our fingers in Design, Storyboards, Model, Texture, Rig,…you name it!
But it’s not without its challenges. Frankie Franco III (his real name – I asked) from Storyboards, will tell you that not being able to use arms and legs to push poses or sell an emotion can prove challenging at times! Something that our Animators will attest to. Meanwhile, Steph Sim, Our Designer extraordinaire, spends her days absorbing the aesthetic sensibilities of Eli and Oli (super talented twin sisters. Think ‘The Shining’ but less unnerving) who have paved the way for the look and feel of the modernised Veggies design.
With an ever-increasing world and character ensemble it’s hard not to have a few favourites up your sleeve.
Andrea Mayo, our Assets Coordinator, dotes on the cantankerous and uncensored Ichabeezer, our resident grump. (Andrea, it should be noted, has nothing in common with him. Super lovely girl. Promise.) She also thinks there should be a product line made of the stylish VeggieTales furniture (#IKEA). Laura Lemaigre, one of our LRC artists has found her twinsie in Laura Carrot due to their matching names and love for animals. Meanwhile, David Vandermeer, Animator, loves our first upcoming ‘meat product’ character, Bacon Bill, so much that he won’t answer a single Veggie question without including Bacon Bill’s name!
So what have we got to look forward to?
“Protein! Bacon Bill’s episode Bacon and Ice Cream.” (shocker…) – David Vandermeer (Animator)
“Superheroes!! And seeing my work on Larryboy’s secret hideout on screen in all its shiny, high-tech, futuristic glory!” – Grace Verhagen (Texture Artist)
“Supervillains!!! Larryboy episodes have some great action sequences between Larryboy and Motato (the yin to Larryboy’s yang). I love seeing the unexpected ways that the animation team ended up using all the character rigs to push extreme poses.” – Price Morgan (Modeler/Rigger)
And what for the future? Well, our artists have some ideas of their own.
“A ‘FlaMango’!” (see what she did there?) – Seanna Evans (Character Modeler)
“An eye-watering onion!” – Chris Hartt (Lead FX)
“A gang of bad guys called ‘The Bad Seeds’!” (OK…that’s actually pretty fantastic) – Steph Sim (Designer)
“Some kind of beef jerky creation.” (zombie episode maybe??) – Price Morgan (Modeler/Rigger)
All in all, VeggieTales is a really fun show to work on. Great one-liners, characters and environments that our team of artists have immersed themselves in to make sure VeggieTales has as much energy and life as possible. It’s not without the work of these talented pros, across all fields, that this could be done and everyone can be really proud of their contribution to this piece of animation history. Invisible high five!
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