Blur Studio animate SpongeBob SquarePants with the help of Morph-O-Matic

Blur Studio animate SpongeBob SquarePants with the help of Morph-O-Maticc

Blur Studio animate SpongeBob SquarePants with the help of Morph-O-Matic

Blur Studio animate SpongeBob SquarePants with the help of Morph-O-Matic > Press > Success Stories > Blur Studio: A 2D Toon Takes A 3D Ride  

Blur Studio turns SpongeBob SquarePants as a 3D character with Morph-O-Matic


When you’re one of the best visual effects shops in town, you usually get some big clients knocking at your door. Blur Studio, based in Venice California, has definitely earned its reputation from the quality of its work and the dedication of its artists, and the knock on the door came last year from Paramount Parks and Nickelodeon when they approached Blur with the idea of producing “a stereoscopic, computer-animated ride film based on the wildly popular Nickelodeon cartoon series SpongeBob SquarePants” according to Sherry Wallace, Blur’s Producer for the project.  The 4 and a half minute ride was to make its debut at Paramount Parks Theme Parks across North America in 2002 and has since being distributed in many themes park across the globe.

Problems / Challenges

Of course, on a job this big, there were significant hurdles to overcome. First and foremost, Blur was given the daunting task of taking the original 2D elements and converting them into 3D while not losing the originals’ quality. Add to that the fact that they had 15 unique characters to model and animate, including six who had speaking parts. Blur’s CG Supervisor Paul Taylor recalls, “For the characters who had dialogue, we had to use morph targets for all the facial lip-syncing.”

Solutions / Benefits

Blur immediately began to look at tools that could help increase their productivity, and Morph-O-Matic soon came to their attention. As Sze Chan, one of Blur’s modelers and character riggers who worked on the project knew, “Without a tool like Morph-O-Matic, we would have had to transfer animation for each channel inside of Track View.” Instead, Blur was able to do things not previously possible with the built-in tools and in far less time. And on such a massive project, time was critical. Fortunately, both Chan and Taylor agreed that the product had “No learning curve”, and that they were up and running in less than a day. That was also especially important for Blur’s Lead Character Animator, Marlon Nowe. “Morph-O-Matic provided a faster solution with more possibilities, a better interface, and nice floaters with sliders,” he said, “You need smooth playback while animating facial animation and Morph-O-Matic provided it.”

And Chan echoed her workmate’s sentiments on the ease of use, “Beyond the number of channels that Morph-O-Matic could display at once, the other nice feature was its capability to open multiple floaters for different characters and animate them all at once.” This saved the Blur team lots of unneeded aggravation and let them focus on the task of producing stunning character output for Paramount Parks.

Nowe summed up his experiences with Morph-O-Matic on the SpongeBob SquarePants ride pretty simply, “Its faster and smoother than any other existing morphing solution for 3ds max.”

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