Using digital puppetry, The Creature Shop helps create five adorable baby animals that move with lifelike spontaneity.
Word Party is a CG-animated preschool series that has grown over the years to become one of the most popular shows on Netflix. Featuring five adorable baby animals who are learning words just like young viewers at home, the show also includes catchy music and easy-to-follow dance routines so that even the youngest viewers can join in the fun.
Building on the success of Sid the Science Kid, The Jim Henson Company wanted to use the efficiencies of digital puppetry to produce a series featuring highly appealing CG characters that moved naturally. Word Party is a show that is especially suited to digital puppetry because of the show’s emphasis on connecting directly to a younger audience. The live performance aspect resonates especially well and creates a new level of engagement.
Working with creator Alex Rockwell, the Creature Shop built the world of friendly babies who love to use their imaginations, as well as some whimsical robots that truly help make learning a party! Over subsequent seasons, new robot characters have been added, as well as the youngest baby, Tilly the Tortoise.
Production utilizes three virtual cameras, just like a live-action shoot. The digital puppetry technique allows for spontaneity and “happy accidents” to make their way into the DNA of the show in a way that is not possible with keyframe animation.
The process then morphs into a traditional CG post process where lighting, fur and special effects are added. Since a majority of the animation has already been captured on set, the series is produced in a much shorter timeframe than traditional CG.