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Clifford the Big Red Dog


Director Walt Becker recently brought timeless children’s book character, Clifford to the big screen on an enormous scale, in the retelling of the Clifford the Big Red Dog book series by Norman Bridwell. With the help of MPC’s award-winning VFX team, the 10-foot-tall CGI puppy entertained audiences globally.

Walt Becker
Paramount Pictures

Led by VFX Supervisor Blair Clark, MPC VFX Supervisor Richard Little and MPC VFX Producer Will Newis, the MPC team focused on the development and creation of Clifford himself, crafting all sequences featuring Clifford throughout the feature. The team worked closely with film director Walt Becker to bring his creative vision to life, getting heavily involved from the early development stages of the film to research the autonomy and nuanced characteristics of playful, young pups.

It was crucial to the team that when translating the familiar characteristics of our real-sized furry friends into the 10-foot-tall version, the hero character felt authentic and accurate, and was seamlessly integrated into every live-action plate. Simultaneously, the colour of Clifford’s iconic red fur was vital aspect to the feature. The MPC Asset Department prioritised colour studies to fully understand how it would be possible to create realistic red fur, and how that fur would be affected within different lighting environments.

All sequences of Clifford the Big Red Dog varied in their level of complexity and difficulties. “A lot of time and energy was spent on how Clifford would interact with the live action plates, from moving to jumping on beds and playing with Sumo balls in the park,” explained MPC Film VFX Supervisor Richard. “My overall lasting impression of the most challenging aspect of Clifford, was Clifford himself. By taking a 2-dimensional character from an illustration and animating and re-imagining him in a photorealistic setting.”

Once the aesthetic of Clifford was honed, the team worked to convincingly integrate him into live-action scenes, wherein he interacted with the film’s cast.

The MPC team crafter over 1000 shots for the feature, using Katana, Maya, Adobe Photoshop, Nuke and Houdini, in addition to a proprietary grooming software, developed in-house at MPC.

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