Home Entertainment Futurama Struggled To Fit Conan O’Brien’s Giant Head Into A Jar

Futurama Struggled To Fit Conan O’Brien’s Giant Head Into A Jar


Moore commented that, in terms of animation, Conan’s upstanding cranium cause headaches. “His head sticking out of that jar was a big technical problem,” the director explained. Cohen noted that it was important to have Conan’s head extending out of his jar (“Well, we called for it because he has a giant head. In real life, he does have a giant head”), with Moore then stating:

“Those jars, digitally, are a bunch of layers of transparencies. And just the fact that it was sticking out at a level of water that was … it made our technical guys’ heads hurt.” 

Transparencies, as the name implies, is about what elements of a single animated element have opacity and which ones don’t. Picture a jar with a human head in it, filmed from a static camera. A viewer should be able to see the rim of liquid in front of a jarred head, but not behind it. The rim of the jar itself, meanwhile, should be seen in the front, and it should overlap with the rim in the back. With Conan’s hair sticking up out of the liquid, however, one would have to figure out which elements of the jar rim would be in front of it, as well as how the edge of the liquid AND the edge of the jar would disappear behind it. It looks like it would be simple, but animating O’Brien’s noggin required a lot of retooling.

Writer Bill Odenkirk quipped that, “It’s only marginally more difficult to actually get a live head to live in a jar than to animate it.”

Why not simply put Conan’s massive head in a larger jar instead? Because that’s less funny.

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