It was either this or dig a huge puppeteering tunnel underneath my front lawn. I'll bet the guys who did Caddyshack would have loved this. The gopher hole is made out of expanding monofoam carved and then spray painted with glue and a healthy coat of dirt thrown on it(with tufs of fake plastic grass). It sits on the lawn doing nothing and my gopher is inserted via green screen. The green is keyed out using the Keylight plugin in Adobe AE and you get this... kinda..
I need to work on matching the colors from the studio to the outdoor set. Hmm, a shadow would be good... Some dirt/dust thrown up when he pops. I used a garbage matte to outline the top jagged lip of the whole.
On Caddyshack most of the gopher stuff was done on a soundstage. I can think of only a few scenes where the gopher actually interacted with Bill Murray in real life and I'm sure they had some tunnel dug out on the other side of a hill where some guy could shove his hand up the puppet's butt to work it while Murray tried his best to kill it.