Director Rob Foster - Carbon
Agency Highdive

Case Study


  • Director Rob Foster
  • Production Company Carbon
  • Executive Producer Gretchen Praeger
  • Producer Lauryn Grimando
  • CG Supervisor Jessie Amadio
  • Lead Animator Andrew Boccio
  • Asset Lead/Modeler Will Moody
  • Designer Ben Girdwood
  • Designer Matt Beharry
  • Storyboard Artist Bill Halliar
  • Lighter Dan Fine
  • Modeler Diego Melgar
  • Rigger Gil Hacco
  • Animator Sam Gierasimczuk
  • 2D Animator Katrina Zimmerman
  • 2D Artist Jen Howard
  • 2D Artist Matt Bregger


  • Brand Airheads
  • Agency Highdive Chicago
  • Creative Director Philipe Diāo
  • Creative Director Aaron Cathey
  • Creative Director Carlos Bretel
  • Executive Producer Adam Battista
  • Producer Abby Merhar
  • Music Comma
  • Mix Another Country

Airheads Xtremes have a new hero. Meet ‘Bud’ the tongue. Directed by Carbon’s Rob Foster, we joined forces with Highdive to create a series of films starring Bud, and his sidekick. If you can call ‘no regard for personal safety’ a sidekick! In which case, these two are inseparable.

So, how do you tell the story of a tongue that acts on Xtreme impulse? We landed on casting Bud in the roles of a (potentially short) lifetime: a daredevil, a snake charmer, and a wrestler.

We used storyboards to set up the comedic story beats, before diving into the character design, CG and animation. The design needed to be instantly recognizable as a tongue while having personality and comedy with just the right amount of texture and glisten (aka not too much glisten).

We asked ourselves important questions: What shape do we use to make the tongue recognizable? Does it need arms and legs? In what proportions? Should it have a face? What would a tongue look like if it was squeezed by a snake and puffed up? Every decision focused on making the character design as expressive and funny as possible.

With a short amount of time to set each scene, we also developed outfits that provided instant context clues for what is happening in every shot. And yes, we had lots of fun designing spandex wrestling suits, we’re human after all.

So, enjoy the adventures of our hero, Bud. And kids, remember, if you ever find yourself asking ‘What would Bud do?,’ make sure to do the opposite!