Channel 4 has released a series of four 60-second idents directed by Blink’s Dougal Wilson, with subtly crafted VFX by MPC, which premiered during the Bake Off final on Tuesday 31 October 2017. With them, the TV broadcaster introduces the C4 giant, an animated character built from the blocks of the brand’s iconic logo.
Whether the giant is kicking a football around with kids in the street or carrying a group of people from the sea to the safety a cliff top, this is a character for everyone, and something people can instantly warm to – despite the fact it’s not human.
MPC’s Creative Director Diarmid Harrison-Murray says, “From a VFX perspective, the deceptive simplicity of these films hide some real challenges. On one level, all you've got is nine giant cubes to express character, weight, scale and realism.”
Working with a clear brief from our creative partners, our team of artists have animated a character with a strong yet playful presence, who is all-at-once disruptive, mischievous and inclusive. The four films reveal different sides to his personality, but maintain cohesion.
Our teams of animators and artists ‘got their hands dirty early on’, explains Diarmid, creating early-stage animation tests. This type of collaboration, right at the start of the production, was key to success in this project, as we were able to help Dougal develop the character’s story – and define the scope of his personality.
Animating was ‘a balance between respecting the laws of physics and breaking them’ when crafting a particular pose or walk, explains Diarmid. Our Life team – MPC’s specialist creature and character group - was very careful to avoid over animating the character and its movements, to make sure the giant looks like a real physical presence and feels believable in each world.
Developing the character’s look was equally challenging. Made from the blocks of the Channel 4 logo, it was important that the materials the character is made from reflect the spirit of the brand, while also sitting realistically in the environment – so there had to be some wear and tear and weathering.
Diarmid says, “We settled on a metal that took inspiration from large format sculptural art. He felt familiar but at the same time like you were looking upon something you had never seen before.”
With its simple cubic form, the FX work was crucial to help bed the giant into the environment, from a subtle splash in a puddle in the street, to the massive water pouring of him as he rises from the sea. The FX play such an important role to support the realism of the character.
“In many ways the C4 giant is just as challenging and complex as a CG fox, but the craft is much more subtle –these films go to show the full spectrum of MPC’s collaboration with Dougal.”
Chris Bovill, John Allison, Alice Tonge
Chris Bovill, John Allison, Dan Watts, Dougal Wilson
Chris Welsby, David Bryan, Lou Thomas, Selcuk Ergen, Radu Ciubotariu, Sean Rowe, Martino Madeddu, Kate Gabriel, Jessie Amadio, Matteo La Motta, Daniel Benjamin, Alex Snookes
Anthony Moore & Mark Hills @ Factory
Lou Allen @ Factory
Joe Guest @ Final Cut