Aardman and Thatchers team up for summer sports advert

Martin Thatcher holding a small model of himself
Image caption,

A model of Martin Thatcher was used by the animators for the three adverts

  • Published

The Bristol-based makers of Wallace and Gromit have teamed up with another famous West Country business to transform its staff into animated characters.

Aardman animations has been working with Thatchers cider makers to sculpt life-like puppets for a series of sport inspired summer adverts.

More than 300 apples were meticulously hand painted, as well as the Thatchers family, staff and farm dog, Myrtle.

Martin Thatcher said: "It's just absolutely incredible - the team have done such a fantastic job, they have covered every single little detail down to the shirt, the jacket, the belt, the boots - everything."

Image caption,

Models have been made to match members of the Thatcher's family - and farm dog Myrtle

He added: "It's hairs on the back of the neck time - I watched Morph when I was much, much younger and to now have the people who did that iconic brand, now doing ours is really fantastic."

This is the second time the two west country businesses have collaborated for a campaign and animators spent time at the farm in Somerset where they studied the real-life people to create the models.

It then took a team of 34 people a month to create each of the three 20 second commercials using stop-motion.

"We are literally taking the real people, looking at them and their little traits, how they behave and we are putting those into our characters," said Magdalena Osinska, director at Aardman Animations.

Image source, Aardman Animations
Image caption,

The three adverts combine cider making with cricket, football and rugby

The three adverts combine cider making with cricket, football and rugby, with head cider maker Richard Johnson seen doing keep-uppies with the apples.

The Aardman team studied online videos of rugby and football and relied on one of their floor managers, a keen cricketer, to help master the movements.

While the sets and puppets are real, some of the facial expressions were computer generated as were the backdrops.

Image caption,

On average about two seconds of the advert was animated each day

Ms Osinska said: "It's really magical seeing the life being brought into the puppets. That's very satisfying."

But, Mr Thatcher admitted it is not all completely true to life. When asked if he is any good at cricket, he answered with a truthful "no".

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