CG Animation: Yoda and Darth Maul Duke it Out Over Brisk Tea (videos)

I was part of the team that created this CG commercial — here is how we did it. Check out Yoda and Darth Maul getting into it, below.

I was on the team that created this CG commercial. Here it is — from Aatma Studios with Mekanism in San Francisco. Check it out.

Pepsi has been doing a lot of ads for Brisk Tea featuring animated celebrities (see the videos below) but up to now they’ve all been stop-motion, with real miniature plasticine and ceramic models.

This one, featuring the Star Wars characters Yoda and Darth Maul, was the first of the ads to be fully computer generated. Our goal was to make it look like stop motion, even though it was CG.

To do this, we had to avoid allowing the computer to create any in-between frames or the motion would look too smooth. In effect, our animators had to do stop motion within the computer. Also, because the characters and sets were supposed to be miniature, we used shallow depth of focus on the CG cameras. That meant lots of focus blur. We added a ton of detail, up to and including lint on the characters.

At a small scale in the real world, lint is unavoidable. We even added wood grain on the interior walls of the Death Star to make them look like fake metal walls made of wood rather than real metal walls.

The software we used: Autodesk’s Maya and The Foundry’s Nuke. The computers were 12-thread (6 dual-thread core) HP H8SE desktop computers with i7 processors. These computers were not top of the line, just consumer-level medium- to high-performance desktop computers.

But they were enough to get the job done. We used about 10 of these to render the ad.

Ads for Brisk Tea have all been true stop motion in the past. Check these out.



Ozzy Ozborne




Danny DeVito


Rocky Balboa


Bruce Willis