11.20.2009 02:33 PM
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
First CG Muppet made with Autodesk Softimage software

For the first time, as part of its 40th anniversary season, a 3D animated Muppet — Abby Cadabby — has joined the “Sesame Street” cast. The computer-generated (CG) technology used to make the Muppet was delivered by SpeakeasyFX and made with Autodesk Softimage software.

SpeakeasyFX, an animation studio located in New Jersey, worked on 13 nine-minute segments of Abby’s Flying Fairy School. These CG segments were created to foster preschoolers’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Abby Cadabby, along with an eclectic gang of new friends, attends Fairy School with Mrs. Sparklenose. Abby and her friends solve problems using rhyme, reason and cooperation.

SpeakeasyFX used Autodesk Softimage to model, animate, render and composite the segment. The company created more than 500 new props and characters for the series. The team’s greatest challenge was the development of digital characters that behaved like real-world Muppets. This required advanced fur and cloth simulations, and complex rigging.

SpeakeasyFX used Softimage’s Interactive Creative Environment (ICE) to generate the effects. ICE was used to simulate particles, bubbles, a genie in a bottle and even a macaroni twister.

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