back to article Bob the Builder slapped with CGI rendering

Fans of traditional stop-motion animation and whose kids have been raised on Bob the Builder may wish to lament the forthcoming Heavy Duty Diggers outing for Bob, delivered in "full-power CGI". According to Home Media Magazine, the DVD features "five episodes of the new, computer-generated Bob and friends... following them …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CGI has been far cheaper than stop motion for a long time

    the kind of rubbish CGI that they palm off on the anklebiters being just as poor as it is cheap, of course

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      dont time and time again...

      They've done this many times to various series etc at the end of their life just to gather together the last little pennys they can extract from the market...

  2. irish donkey
    Thumb Down

    Can we fix it?

    You don't have to its not broken.

    Now it will just look like all the other dross produced

  3. IndianaJ


    Pretty much all the programmes that have gone this route have become shit for some reason. Noddy, Fireman Sam (which, in fairness, was shit to start with), Bill & Ben (of flowerpot fame) and Postman Pat. All have the look and feel of the homogenised CGI that they are. Bring back BERTHA.

    1. Steve Anderson

      Postman Pat

      Postman Pat's not CGI. Only the characters' mouths and the big sweeping views are; the rest is proper, real stop-motion. It's also still really good.

      You're otherwise completely correct. Thomas hasn't been any good since they turned it into an overly preachy thing around 8 years ago; the CGI faces and people now are an abomination on top.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        RE: PostPat

        Well, Postman Pat probably isn't. But the spinoff featuring his cat, (a show aptly named Guess with Jess), is. Still, it was surprisingly good.

        Tux, because there's no icon of Jess.

    2. Bassey

      Re: IndianJ

      > Fireman Sam (which, in fairness, was shit to start with)

      You take that back. You take that back right now, d'ya hear? NO-ONE disses Fireman Sam and gets away with it!

      1. IndianaJ

        Ok, I take it back

        It's nowhere near as bad as some modern stuff.

  4. Toastan Buttar
    Thumb Up

    Make Way For CGI !

    I must say I prefer the CGI of Make Way For Noddy to the old Cosgrove Hall stop-motion stuff. And Rolie-Polie Olie is just fantastic, of course !

  5. MJI Silver badge


    I am sitting here at work humming the theme music now.

    1. Richard IV

      Me too, almost

      Unfortunately, because of IndianaJ above; it's the theme to BERTHA.

      Stoppit & Tidyup - now there's an unhummable themetune. Muuuuuh!

  6. Not That Andrew

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    The fact that they can't even get his face looking right for the box art bodes ill.

  7. Lionel Baden


    all in the title

  8. M7S

    Thomas was never the same

    nor Fireman Sam. I thought the older Thomas epidosdes had a great charm. My 4yo of course doesn't differentiate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thomas was never the same

      Agree 110% - I love the old Thomas episodes. But then I do have a soft spot for that kind of thing, because I used to be a railway modeling nerd - right up until a ZX81 I got for Christmas transformed me into a computer geek.

    2. markp 1

      can someone please tell me

      Who, for the love of crisps, is Diesel Ten, and how is he (i assume "he") enough of a recurring character for my littlest cousin to be spouting whole storylines about him to me?

      Whatever happened to the original bad old Diesel who was sent packing after one or two episodes?

  9. adnim

    It's all about the money

    When I was a lad there were real cartoons too.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Fireman Sam does have a good theme tune, and allows us to make fun of the Welsh.

  11. Stewart Knight

    Dry Stone Walling

    is still massively popular here in the Lake District!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    stop motion is better

    imagine what robot chicken would be like if it were in CG

  13. Gilbert George

    He's not wearing a seatbelt!

    If Peppa Pig has to buckle up then the least Bob could do is get in!

  14. Fractured Cell
    Thumb Down


    "Fireman Sam (which, in fairness, was shit to start with)"

    NO IT WASN'T!!!

    *Stamps foot and starts wailing*

    But in all fairness, they have turned him into 'Generic Safety Man™', with no character. In the old series, he used to have robots cooking fried eggs, now he is just a big-chinned moron.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Damn right it wasn't crap. The early Alderton voiced stuff was hilarious.

    2. IndianaJ

      I refer the right on gentleman to my retraction above.

      I think my ill feeling may stem from what it replaced in the schedule.

  15. Daedalus
    Thumb Up

    Cheer up!

    Maybe the new version won't have all those nasty H&S violations.

  16. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    Have you seen what they've done to Paddington?

    1. Lee Chong Yew

      RE: Paddington

      Yeah. Last I saw they turned it into 2D animation. Why?

  17. Neil Kay

    Can we fix it...?

    Not sure if links are allowed but here goes (Goes to image with f-bomb).

  18. Andus McCoatover

    Don't forget the crackers, Gromit!

    When Wallace and Gromit go this way, I'll vote for Gordon Brown's next term... (or, have they already? Last film was a bit good..too good?)

    KAAAAKK!!! It's happening!!!!

    "In all, Aardman employs around 200 talented people at their two main studios, both located in Bristol, UK. On the northern outskirts of the city, model-shops, set building facilites, art studios and camera and lighting departments all feed their world leading stop-motion studio. In the heart of Bristol’s dockland, Aardman are expanding their feature CGI studio alongside a brand new headquarters."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Don't forget the crackers, Gromit!

      Aardman has been involved in CGI work for years - its first CGI work as Owzat, a short film of ghosts and skeletons playing cricket in a graveyard, which was made in 1997. It's a nice little piece that's featured on the Aardman showcase DVD and at the time was quite experimental.

      It's also worth remembering that Aardman will utilise CGI with stop motion - a good example is in Chicken Run. Just about all the animation was stop motion but the flames in the pie-making machine were done using CGI because there was no decent way of achieving this type of effect using traditonal stop-motion.

      Although Flushed Away was its first feature to use CGI, Aardman chiefly uses CGI on commercial work like adverts.

  19. Samuel Williams
    Thumb Down

    Better in the old days...

    I assume it'll be that nasty, shiny, over-done 3D you see with all these. I've got some old videos (that's VHS, folks) of Postman Pat, Wombles and the like: looks so much nicer... Pigeon Street - now *that* was animation.

    1. markp 1

      boop diddy boop deet

      Crivens! I used to have one of those too ...... I wonder where it went.

      Never mind so much though. Still got my ORIGINAL, "Guild" VHS of Thomas in it's purple plastic case sitting in the cupboard at home, carefully tended. It still works, on the annual occasion I dust it off and marvel at how short each of the episodes that used to keep me and my brother captivated now seem.

      I've kept the flame alive by borrowing a twin deck VHS/DVD recorder and transferring the lot onto shinydisc for a post-millenial cousin (about 4-5 now?) who is/was (?) mad for everything Sodor-related. Got to let him know there was a time before the Lite Americana "Thomas and Friends" wand was waved over it - a happier, macrovision-free time with occasional tracking difficulties, when the controller was fat, Thomas was allowed to get into crashes and say things like "Bother!", and the narrator was Scouse. Death to homogeneity.

      I wonder how few years that DVDR will last before becoming totally unreadable. I might yet have to copy that tape one more time, if the rust-coated celluloid itself hasn't finally melted.

      Be whistling the theme later I bet :p

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop Motion vs. CGI

    Apparently a lot of kids stuff these days is stop motion processed to look like CGI. The reasoning for this allegedly being that it's cheaper to do this than to do real CGI, but kids expect stuff to look CGI. If that's really true then it's funny that labour intensive stop motion is cheaper than CGI.

  21. Dale Richards

    Stop motion

    CGI animation used to about pushing the boundaries and creating animated works thought to be impossible with more traditional methods. Now it's little more than a cost-saving exercise in many cases.

    You need only watch Coraline to see some of the amazing things that are possible with modern stop-motion animation. Much of the modelling and SFX were computer-assisted, but the animation is pure stop-motion, and the result is one of the most visually stunning films of the last decade.

    It will be a real shame if we lose this artform altogether.

    1. markp 1

      very much so

      The iPlayer and its ilk means that in bored moments I'm able to catch up on the current state of kids' telly without having to be home at 3.30pm, or wait half an hour for the next show if it proves to be dire - can just quit and move on ..... there's some fantastic stuff and some awful glurge as there always was, but the latter seems to be winning because it's just so goddamn cheap to throw together any old tat in <insert favourite cut price rendering package here> over the course of an afternoon, largely relying on the default models (kiddies won't know any different) and nicking your storylines off bad internet fanfics, just changing the names and stripping out the pron.

      It's a funny thing that a lot of the stuff that seems to still have a bit of heart, humour and talent about it is largely traditional media, or where CGI is involved, 2D. There's a couple exceptions (Tronji is an entertaining, if inexplicable acid trip of a near-fully CG show, but it does still have live action elements, and there are plenty of crap 2D animations and live action shows in the world) but it seems to be the theme. Just hold up something like Chuggington or Animalia (oh god, my eyes and ears will never recover - they make Hanna Barbara's smaller-time shows look like exercises in careful, expensive production) to Timmy Time/Shaun the Sheep, Avatar (no, no! the OTHER one!), Little Howard's Big Question (or heck... Ooglies ;) and let's play Spot Where The Time And Money Went.

      They couldn't even be bothered to make the characters' feet move at the right speed to stop them from "gliding" or keep them at the right height to avoid clipping in Animalia (or do the right standards conversion from NTSC, with Chuggington), and everyone looks like a Poser model or a 50% morph between two of them. At least when Scooby Doo et al had the whirling legs and repetitive backgrounds spinning by at a mismatched speed, they had a genuine need to save on workload and reuse cels, plus the show was cheesy and very "cartoony" on purpose. In this case it's a matter of taking a couple of minutes to plug the right numbers into the motion algorithm so they traverse the floor plain at the right speed and without either floating or sinking, most of the hard work coming up with and "drawing" a walk cycle having already been done for you... still couldn't be arsed. Painful.

      BTW, don't even TOUCH Waybuloo. You'll need counselling.

      Mine's got a dvd compilation of Bertha, Family Ness, Count Duckula, 90s X-Men, Trapdoor, Last Airbender, Morph, Dangermouse, Defenders of the Earth, Transformers G1 and you'dbetterbelievesomeCitiesOfGold in the pocket. Look for the bulge.

  22. Darkwolf

    South Park

    Watching old episodes back in the stop motion days, since they have gone CGI there just seems to be something missing.

    1. Jeff S

      1 episode

      So you've been watching the first episode over and over ? Only the pilot, afaik, was done the traditional way. Immediately after that they moved to CGI, one of the reasons being that they can get an episode out very quickly so that it's still topical.

  23. John Aislabie


    So all the other secrets of the fifties have been revealed but :- how did Michael Bentine make the Bumblies move?

  24. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Oh, deary deary me...

    Who done this renderin' for yer? Buncha cowboys, I reckon, see they ain't even done specular highlighin' cos it means they can save on the resource drains and I'm sure that gamma ain't safe. Tell you what I'll do, me and the lads'll stick a z-buffer under it - should hold until we can get back with a ram. And if you can pay cache...

  25. analogue noise

    Bob and Co with an left Atlantic accent.

    CGI nothing, the first few shows were released here in Canada with the original soundtrack, then it hit the US market and was "deaccented" and stripped of all those weird Britishisms, those porcupines looks suspiciously like hedgehogs to me. My now nine year old was a big fan and I really wanted to hear Richard Breirs as Bob's dad.....

    There are some things that work in CGI and some things best left alone, comes down to what works best for the story. As long as there is a story....

    1. markp 1
      Thumb Up

      It's all about the Morrisey / Briers

      Import it and de-region hack your DVD player, you'll be glad you did

  26. markp 1

    Harbour town?

    I thought it used to be called Bobsville? Did he move?

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