ILM To Break New Ground in New HULK Movie

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by Master Salty, Jan 22, 2003.

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  1. malducin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 4
    You could have just put the link and a small quote, but thanks anyway ;-).
  2. Augury Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2003
    I saw the trailer when I saw X2 a few days ago, and I thought it looked great. The texture of his skin and his movements seemed very realistic - it had lots of little detail.
  3. Jedi knight Pozzi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2000
    star 6
    Am I embaressing myself here with so many ups?

    In a darkened office on the outskirts of San Francisco a photo of a shirtless Eric Bana stares out from a large computer screen.

    On an adjacent computer screen a photo of The Hulk, a huge green half-man-half-beast, snarls.

    Bana and The Hulk are in an identical pose but, apart from that, appear nothing alike.

    Look closer at both images and there is a similarity.

    Their eyes.


    How former Melbourne stand-up comedian Bana was transformed into a green, 4.5 metre tall tank-throwing superhuman for Universal Studio's new film, The Hulk, is an interesting story.

    The journey began two years ago in the building where the two computer screens sit - the headquarters of the world's leading special effects complex, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), located about a 45 minute drive north of San Francisco.

    The facility was founded by Star Wars creator George Lucas in 1975 and has been responsible for the special effects work on more than 160 feature films, including the Star Wars trilogy, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, The Perfect Storm, The Mummy, Twister and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

    Of the top 10 worldwide box office grossing films of all time ILM has worked on seven.

    Universal and ILM hope The Hulk, directed by Taiwanese-born Ang Lee and scheduled to open in cinemas around the world in June, joins the top 10.

    Bana's transformation from human to Hulk began in 2001 with a script, a director with a thirst for painstaking detail, a team of 300 effects wizards from ILM and Bana's eyes.

    The process was not an easy one.

    The Hulk character was to be fully computer generated and inserted in each scene, interacting with co-stars Jennifer Connelly, Nick Nolte and Josh Lucas.

    For Lee, however, the special effects were not the most crucial part of the movie.

    Lee told ILM for the film to work the audience would have to believe in and have feelings for a computer generated green giant.

    The Hulk's facial expressions would be the key.

    "The Hulk puts almost everything ILM has done previously into one film and takes it beyond because essentially what we are dealing with is a digital human who happens to be 15 feet tall, happens to be green," Dennis Muren, ILM's senior visual effects supervisor and a winner of eight effects Academy Awards, told AAP during a recent tour of the ILM facility.

    The obvious starting point to creating The Hulk was Bana.

    Bana plays the role of research scientist Dr Bruce Banner who turns into the raging Hulk character when he gets mad.

    "We knew right off the bat that Ang had cast Eric Bana as the lead," ILM art director Jules Mann said.

    "The main thing Ang told us was he liked Eric because of his eyes, he thought he had real deep, great eyes to do the character.

    "So with the caveat 'Don't change his eyes' we just started from scratch.

    "Knowing what we knew about The Hulk we asked ourselves what would Eric Bana look like as a pumped up green guy."

    One of the first steps was to examine in great detail Bana's body, how he walked and his facial expressions.

    The initial plan was to simply incorporate Bana's face in The Hulk's.

    ILM arranged a facial motion capture session for Bana which included placing 500 dots on the Australian actor's face and filming his facial expressions.

    "We also used motion capture to examine how Eric walked, moved," animation director Colin Brady said.

    "The motion capture data goes straight into the animation software and then after that we have the ability to augment that data to make the motion of The Hulk faster, slower, more exaggerated."

    The process also included taking hundreds of photos of Bana.

    "We started breaking down parts of his body," Mann said.

    "We took photos of him from every angle, detailed close-ups, in action, of Eric making various faces."

    The information was used to create a computer generated Hulk with Bana's facial features. But the result was
  4. StarDude Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2001
    star 5
    I live in San Fransisco. This is awesome. :D

    EDIT: I think a round of applause is in order for ILM. What they have done to cinema and how far they've come since Star Wars is amazing. Imagine where we'll be in 10, 20 years from now. ILM is the dream factory of cinema.

    And let's not forget Lucas, the god of sight and sound.
  5. StarDude Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2001
    star 5
    [image=http://www.comics2film.com/images/Hulk/SFHulk2100.jpg]
    It really does look real. I feel like I could touch it. And it very much resembles Eric Bana.
  6. StarDude Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2001
    star 5
    [image=http://images.comicbookresources.com/c2f/hulk/SFHulk1.jpg]
  7. hansoloschinscar Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2001
    star 1
    Those are some great shots. Especially the closeup of the Hulk in the desert. I saved it on my desktop. What struck me about it wasn't the obvious things, but the subtle things which makes our brains believe it's a three dimensional being we're loooking at. Things like the sand crystals on his shoulder, the subtle five o'clock shadow, and my favorite, the light seen through his right ear. It's attention to detail like that will make or break the Hulk movie. I think they will make it!;)
  8. waheennay Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2000
    star 4
    According to some early reviews of THE HULK posted at Aintitcool, the CGI work by ILM turned out really great. The Hulk definitely seems more real on the big screen.
  9. malducin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 4
    Well I rather not give any credence to AICN reviews one way or the other, too much fanboyism around there. At least with RottenTomatoes you get an average. Is still can't believe there are so many doubters about the VFX.
  10. Jedi knight Pozzi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2000
    star 6
    Ok. If anyone has seen the film, can they tell us if there was new ground broken, or merely a light raking and deserving of manure.
  11. Ray_Nicolet Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2003
    star 1
    You have got to be blind and out of your mind if you think Hulk was more realistic than Gollum. I saw the movie at midnight and there is just no way. No freaking way. Up close The Hulk looked decent, but when hes far away and actually running or doing something? It was a goddamn joke.
  12. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Actually, Gollum's animation(movements) was NO DIFFERENT than anything ILM has done. Dobby was right up there with Smeagol.

    As for the Hulk, did you ever read the comics? He leaps miles at a time and can run hundreds of mph.
  13. George15 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 4, 2002
    star 4
    The Hulk looks more realistic than Gollum imo.I think some people are put off by his shade of green thus deeming it cartoony.Guys that is his color from the comics,there is no way of getting around it,unless you want to upset millions of Hulk fans.Which just isn't good buisness to upset your fanbase.

    "Dobby was right up there with Smeagol."

    Arn't we forgetting someone?Cough Yoda cough cough.

    "You have got to be blind and out of your mind if you think Hulk was more realistic than Gollum."

    If I'm blind then how could I possibly make that assesment?



  14. MadMardigan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 4
    I don't understand ILM.

    I haven't been a huge fan of the CGI characters in either TPM or AOTC. Yet they are 100 times better looking than the Hulk. And even weirder still, the dinosaurs in JP 1 are 100 times better than any CGI creature ever.

    How does that happen.

    The Hulk looked ridiculous. From his design to his movements. He was way too over animated.

    Frankly this is an embarassment to ILM. The screening I saw, people were laughing hysterically at the Hulk. No one laughed at either CGI Yoda or Gollum.

    How does ILM do great work (on Lucas's own movie) and such crap on someone else's. The Hulk looked no different than that abmonination that was the Scorpion King in Mummy Returns.

    ILM denies it, but clearly there are A Teams, B Teams and C Teams. Clearly the F Team was working on the Hulk.
  15. jp-30 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2000
    star 9
    Or maybe, for a "cartoony" look they were instructed to make the Hulk look & move the way he did?

    I understand much of the film is framed like a comic book, with multiple frames etc.
  16. kirkout Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2002
    star 1
    Well, there are various numbers issues related to your ILM criticisms.

    One, you've apparently got a huge number of shots in HULK requring hero full-screen animation, so there's the matter of how long it takes to render. That number is gonna be pretty high, so unless you cut down the number of shots, you have to cut down on render times, making the image suffer. Personally I think the high number of fx shots (in less & less time) is what is making fx work suffer overall ... I'd be happy with 70% or 80% less shots as long as they were mostly good ones. Tell the story with the images and throw a few WOW shots in, but don't inundate, since the more there are, the more likely to pile up unconvincing images.

    Another number is dollars-related. About half of TPM's budget went to ILM as i recall, so that'd be close to 60 mil, with a lot invested in R&D and a lot of time to be used in planning as well as executing.

    HULK had a lot of time too, but not THAT much, and not the same huge amount of personnel working for the prequels.

    People knock the MUMMY RETURNS stuff (which looked pretty bad to me too), but here you've got a director adding tons and tons of shots late in the game, so the number is very small here in terms of days to do the stuff ... plus you have what I think is flawed methodology for the scorpion king guy, so that is sort of sabotaged right off. Plus you're talking less money.

    ILM's SPACE COWBOYS work is just awesome to me, so there's a good example of non GL stuff that really kicks ... then again, that used an awful lot of miniatures as well as CG, and of course, miniatures when shot right look tremendous and have a reality presence that digital is hard pressed to emulate.

    I'm not sure why filmmakers and producers are so intent on destroying the visual crediblity of their own films by pushing the CG angle so hard. Less shots and more time would make a world of difference, as would a better balance between practical and digital solutions.

    Hell, I FAR prefer the FARSCAPE puppets to Trek's bad makeups and the occasional CG alien. By the same token, I am still more impressed by the Bottin stuff in Carpenter's THE THING than most of the CG characters done in any movie to date.

    For every credible Watto or Dobby, there are so many characters rammed down our throats with 500 mediocre shots that just make me want to not watch the screen (SPIDEY is a great example - I liked the movie alot, but the fx made me cringe, and I think they could have showed him a lot less and relied more on shots from his point of view as he swung around the city, making it more like a roller coaster ridefilm, providing spectacle without sacrificing so much credibility.)

    As far as ILM having various teams, that has been discussed going back two decades, but if you look at the HULK crew, there are folks on this who have been on the A team the whole time, like Muren. Would Muren accept a marginal team? Not likely.
  17. HKChicago Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 8, 2002
    star 2
    I haven't been a huge fan of the CGI characters in either TPM or AOTC. Yet they are 100 times better looking than the Hulk. And even weirder still, the dinosaurs in JP 1 are 100 times better than any CGI creature ever.

    The CGI characters in TPM are horrible! Sebulba & Jar-Jar have no internal anatomy whatsoever, they're both CGI models with stretchy skin maps. Sorry if anyone thinks the CGI aliens from TPM come even close the the Hulk then you just don't an eye for realism.

    The Hulk looked ridiculous. From his design to his movements. He was way too over animated.

    Even accounting for his comic book physics the Hulk is the best animated character ever easily. True muscles, skin responses, etc. Gollum/Smeagol may be the best dramatic digital character, but Hulk is the best integrated and realistic.

    Frankly this is an embarassment to ILM. The screening I saw, people were laughing hysterically at the Hulk. No one laughed at either CGI Yoda or Gollum.

    Honestly, I don't believe you.

    How does ILM do great work (on Lucas's own movie) and such crap on someone else's. The Hulk looked no different than that abmonination that was the Scorpion King in Mummy Returns.

    The Scorpian King looked bad because it was basically an animatic... The Rock wasn't allowed to finish the shots so the whole visual was done from reference data. Hulk looked 1000x better but whatever.

    ILM denies it, but clearly there are A Teams, B Teams and C Teams. Clearly the F Team was working on the Hulk.

    The A Team worked on Hulk, with Denis Muren leading and being quoted that the Hulk is stylized to have a comic feel. It was an outstanding job.
  18. Jedi knight Pozzi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2000
    star 6
    Ang Lee acted out the hulks movements in a motion capture suit. Maybe having a non-actor had something to do with the movements?

    Hope I like it come Saturday. :)
  19. waheennay Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2000
    star 4
    Computer animation is at a higher frame rate than film. CGI is the same frame rate as video which is 30 frames per second. Film is only 24 frames per second. That's why it still looks weird. Everything caught at video fps(including motion capture) seems sped up compared to film.
  20. kirkout Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2002
    star 1
    Well, this 30 vs 24 explanation you have above is kinda inaccurate and very misleading. There's a conversion process employed so you don't wind up with sped up or slowed down images, though on occasion there is incongruity created (has to do more with amount of BLUR accrued on the image in live-action.)

    And as far as that goes, there were some mainstream movies photographed & projected at 30fps in the 50s, such as OKLAHOMA (which helps account for the weird look in part), plus stuff shot at even higher rates for various ridefilms since then. All of these systems, regardless of what rate they are recorded, are played back or transferred in a way to keep the motion looking real-time.
  21. Jedi knight Pozzi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2000
    star 6
    Saturday has been and gone. I loved it.

    Well done ILM. Not for the effect of realism, but for the effect for making him act. :)
  22. waheennay Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2000
    star 4
    Yeah, you do feel sorry for him a lot. Motion blur is fine for fast moving vehicles, but not enough for living things. When something is at a higher frame rate, it only seems sped up but what's actually happening is the brain is recieving way more information. When you watch something at regular film rate, the brain is unconciously filling in the gaps. The only thing that works well at 30 fps is "morphing". The seamlessness of blending different images is a really great creative tool.
  23. malducin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 4
    No no no this is highly misleading and/or innacurate. Computer animation for film is done also at 24 fps. It's not done at 30, 29.97 or other stuff. All major animation packages let you choose at which frame rate to animate. So ILM and other film VFX studios animates at 24 fps. The only reason you would animate at 30 is if you were doing a project straight for video.

    If it looked weird in trailer it's because Universal sped up several shots so they could fit in a 30 sec. commercial trailer.

    Mocap is captured at different rates and it also depends on the system (optical or magnetic). And it doesn't matter, mocap captures raw positional and rotational data and even if it was 30 fps, but it was probably higher (see later) you just generate datapoints which are used to generate keyframes. You can just use those keyframes after cleanup very easily at 24 fps. ILM uses a Vicon optical system, and the current camera models can capture up to 1000 fps. There is simply no correlation if the mocap is captured higher if it's gonna end up looking funny. The main part where any problems are introduced is on the conversion to video (pull-up plus interlacing) which combined with the speding up might make things look off, besides the fact that Universal used several shots that were not finished, some of them were very much redone (like the tank throwing shot). On film you don't get those problems.

    And motion blur is necessary for living things. It doesn't matter if it's a vehicle or an organic thing. The only thing that matters is how fast the object is moving depending on shutter speed/angle. If you look at any piece of celuloid even slow moving persons produce noticeable blur. And as far as motion, it's not only the brain but the eys, it's called persistence of vision. And VFX work fine at 30fps, not just morphing. Of course you need good VFX justas in film.
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