Knight Rider Minimates Opening Animation
May 27, 2011

 - Project Date:

Once DST announced they were making Knight Rider Minimates, I knew what my next animation project was going to be. It didn't matter how hard it was going to be or or how long it was going to take...

KITT was going to live!
One of the new Minimate property annouced by DST at the 2011 Toy Fair was Knight Rider. As a child of the 80s, this really grabbed my attention. For me it overshadowed the much bigger announcement of Marvel Vs. Capcom Minimates. In Minimate Land, Marvel is ubiquitious and we've already had a taste of Capcom with Street Fighter. Don't get me wrong, I want more Street Fighter Minimates. That line died before its time.

But this post isn't about Street Fighter, it's about Knight Rider.

When looking back on old Knight Rider episodes you can't escape the cheese. With a barely concealed ramp each week and plot holes you can drive a Trans Am through, it's not the height of television excellence. It doesn't have to be. Nostalgia goes a long way with me and I can enjoy Knight Rider for what it is.

Combining this new license with my recent fascination with 3D rendering was a given.

Apparently DST didn't allow photos of the Knight Rider toys at Toy Fair so we don't know exactly what KITT or Michael Knight will look like. Fortunately they did post some pre-production photos on the Art Asylum gallery. There are a few 3d renders there, but those look to be early in the process and don't match the physical production models. So I started modeling my own version of KITT based on both image sets and a bunch of online reference material of the actual car. It won't end up matching the final toy, but thats okay with me.

Creating a Michael Knight Minimate was much more difficult. I still haven't mastered Minimate faces and modeling hair gives me fits. To raise the difficulty, that's no normal head of hair! That's Hasselhoff hair! So I cheated. You never see a good shot of the Knight Minimate. It's always shaded by the tinted windows or moving fast across the screen. These stills are the best look you're going to get.

But like the show, this animation was never supposed to be about Michael Knight. It's about KITT. There is a handful of really important TV/movie cars from the 80s: the Back to the Future Delorean, the Ghostbusters Ectomobile, the Keaton Batmobile, the A-Team van, the General Lee, Optimus Prime, and KITT. Getting all of those in Minimate form would make my decade. Two out of seven is a good start.

Please pardon the dodgy voice-over in the animation. Billy West and Maurice LaMarche still aren't taking my calls so I resorted to Craigslist. You get what you pay for.