"For some strange reason the cows on set just wouldn't get their lines right," jokes Enca Kaul, our VFX Producer on the spot. "So we had to model the cow's muzzle in CG and animate the lips to the voiceover recording. 2D then did some morphing to her eyes and eyebrows to enhance performance and to composite the CG muzzles."
"The cow had a great dialogue-driven persona," elaborates Sarah Eim, our Lead 2D Artist on 'Birthday Party.' "One of our main goals was to make sure we could see the fun personality of the cow. We also had to make her pretty. The cows have to eat a lot between takes and they aren't always the cleanest eaters." 2D Artists Becky Porter, Brinton Jaecks and Eim worked on seamless comping and cow face morphing, while our CG team of Steve Beck, Matthew Longwell and Greg Gangemi created beautiful fur and cow nose textures."
Lead 3D Artist Steve Beck explains the cow was modeled based on reference photos and footage from the shoot to make sure her individual features were captured. The animation brief was to keep the lips as natural to a cow as possible while avoiding stereotypical human mouth shapes.
"Once the geo was tracked to the plates we could project the image of the cow from the plate onto the geo ensuring our base colors were identical," Beck says. "The base color was used to color the fur developed for the cow. The fur helped add another level of detail that helped the muzzle sit into the scene. It gives the light a textured surface to play off and helps give a furry silhouette. We added whiskers for extra detail."
The California Milk cow eventually has her say after embarrassingly fumbling for an explanation for the birthday girl's mother about all the noise. "Thanks for hanging me out to dry there, Madison," the California Milk cow turns and says quite matter-of-factly to her little girlfriend eating an ice cream cone.
RealCaliforniaMilk.com hosts commercials featuring the California Milk cows, as well as Real California Dairy recipes, an app for California Cheese Pairing and much more!