meindbender-pirate meindbender-pirate

“The Pirate” by Meindbender

Once in a blue moon I see a piece of animation that plain knocks me out. “The Pirate by Trollhättan, Sweden-based Meindbender is one such piece. Masquerading as an innocuous Cartoon Network station promo, it is a boundary-busting achievement in CG animation. The marriage of realistically shaded/lit environments and madcap cartoon distortion (particularly in the bird character) suggest new avenues in computer animation that are worth exploring further. Here’s some background info about how Meindbender achieves its organic looking CG aesthetic.

Director: Olov Burman
Shading and Rendering: Michael Bengtsson, Hervé Steff
Animators: Calle Halldin, Olov Burman
Modeling: Hervé Steff, Michael Bengtsson, Olov Burman, Marcus Ottosson
Rigging: Calle Halldin
Post Production: Michael Bengtsson
Music: Joel Eriksson
Voice Acting: Pär Nymark
Sound Effects: Ljudlabbet (Daniel Saxlid)
Cloth and Hair Simulation: Marcus Ottosson
Closepup Explosion: Matt Radford
Water Simulation: Brian Looney
Renderfarm: Rendernet (Henrik Norin)
Modelmaking: Chris Schifferns
Technical Support: Kustaa Vuori
Programmer: Mihnea Balta
3D Scanning: Paulo Kiefe (Creative Tools)
Cartoon Network Representatives: Raf Gasak (Creative Director, Turner Broadcasting Europe), Lola Gamester (Project Assistant)
Rendered with Maxwell

(Thanks, Jorge Gutierrez)

  • Ron

    Incredible. Simply Incredible.

  • Sam


  • Arr, arr! That was great.

  • gervart

    quote Neo: “Woah”

  • Simply mind blowing!

    I didn’t expect it to be this good!

  • I did an interview to Meindbender a few months ago

    Very cool Studio :)

  • Damn, that’s super cool. Looks really, really fantastic.

    • Paul

      It had better look great. Word from some of the animators was that it took 14 hours per frame to render. They’re using Maxwell, which does beautiful renders at a snails pace.

  • Caresse

    This is insanely good and the technique is just so smart.

  • dang…Sometimes you see an animation and you only have two choices. Quit trying, or work harder. I’ll choose to work harder.

  • Toonio

    The ball is gone, gone, gone and it’s out of here!!!

    Hope they get to complete a short soon. Go Sverige!

  • Jon

    Great work Cartoon Network!

  • It’s interesting that the pirate’s mouth is upside-down.

  • Anoniguy

    Exceptional work! Nice to see something Cartoon Network related here that isn’t disheartening or irritating.

    Where are all the ‘wah amid hates everything’ people when he posts things like this?

  • Ben

    The mouth on the pirate is upside down on purpose, I think. It’s a real human mouth, or at least meant to look like one, and very convincing.

    The parrot was amazing! Why haven’t CGI studios done this kind of squash & stretch before? This is more like a marriage between old & new, and if more CGI films were like this, I don’t think there would be as much complaint.

    • If more commercial 2D animation were more like that, there wouldn’t be as much complaint…

    • amid

      There are no real human mouths in this. According to one of the artists who worked on the piece, “Every bit of this is CGI, rendered with Maxwell Render.”

    • rick

      –Why haven’t CGI studios done this kind of squash & stretch before?–

      Because it is extremely time consuming (read. expensive) to do it.

  • I love the sunny side up eggs concept for the parrot’s eyes!

  • Tom Pope


  • akira

    MORE PLEASE!!! hopefully the crew sticks together to make more awesomeness and doesn’t just get absorbed into the pixar/dreamworks/sony/blusky machines… although blusky would be the best fit(hard to believe cartoon network had anything to do with that)

  • Chris

    Wow! No kidding, that was brilliant! Just when I thought CG animation was doomed to always look the same, at least in this era, I am pleasantly surprised. Sweet!

  • 2011 Adult

    This looks so epic, it was incredibly awkward to see the Cartoon Network logo appear at the end! It’s like it doesn’t even belong in this animated short! I would eat my toes to see animation like this on CN anytime soon!

  • Jason

    Dang Swedes and their Swedish meatballs.

    This is amazing.

  • oh man! that was hilarious. and inspiring. and mind biending.

  • tonma

    This is a nice and huge slap in the back of the head for the whole industry, (PIXAR TOO you know?)… and I like that very much. I’d have another one any time.

    Also, this looks like it will be an unanimous and hate-free post, this is a good day.

  • Matt Sullivan

    I dig it!

  • wgan

    what did that bird say anyway??

    • paul

      the bird said “cartoon network”

  • cbat628

    I’ve been meaning to comment on this for awhile. This is amazing! I hope the studio gets the opportunity to do shorts or a feature.