To celebrate Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday, Framestore brought the wildfire prevention icon into the digital age by creating a fully 3D animated emoji version of Smokey to work within our bespoke, realtime facial capture system for a campaign directed by Framestore's Murray Butler. We were fortunate enough to have the chance to work with stars such as Stephen Colbert, Al Roker, Jeff Foxworthy and Betty White, who each lent their voice to help Smokey deliver his important message of fire prevention and safety.
Building upon our proprietary realtime character pipeline and utilizing the iPhone's TrueDepth camera, we recorded Colbert, Roker, Foxworthy and White’s face and head movements, which drove the rig to control Smokey, allowing them to see the animation playing back in real time. Using Framestore’s realtime, end-to-end character puppeteering process allowed us to iterate quickly while maintaining the highest quality, and capture the authenticity of the talents' performances. The renders were then composited into a 2D live action scene, where we also added the still emojis that helped Smokey to tell his stories.
Framestore's design team took cues from the visual language of emojis to give the new animated emoji version of Smokey a clean and vibrant look, whilst maintaining his key recognizable features, which have made him such a popular and enduring character over the years.