Designing Movie Creatures and Characters: Behind the scenes with the movie masters


Behind the scenes on landmark movies such as King Kong; the Star Wars trilogy, Pirates of the Caribbean, X-Men, Predator, and Alien series; Hellboy; and The Chronicles of Narnia, are a host of visionary and often obsessive artists, designers, and technicians whose passion is the movies, and whose role is to create nothing less than cinematic icons. This unique book interviews and reveals the character designers, painters, illustrators, sculptors, and animatronic engineers who transform a sketch or a few words ...

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Behind the scenes on landmark movies such as King Kong; the Star Wars trilogy, Pirates of the Caribbean, X-Men, Predator, and Alien series; Hellboy; and The Chronicles of Narnia, are a host of visionary and often obsessive artists, designers, and technicians whose passion is the movies, and whose role is to create nothing less than cinematic icons. This unique book interviews and reveals the character designers, painters, illustrators, sculptors, and animatronic engineers who transform a sketch or a few words from a script into convincing characters with a life and personality of their own.

Designing Movie Creatures and Characters reveals the inside story of how creatures of the imagination are brought to life onscreen - told by the makers themselves, and illustrated with exclusive, behind-the scenes shots from hundreds of movies.

Learn what inspires and motivates these skilled artists; how Weta Workshop began; how Walt Conti builds swimming robot sharks and whales; how Patrick Tatopoulos creates his stunning designs; how molds, creature suits, eye mechanisms, and masks are constructed - and how dedicated artists bring characters to life in front of the camera, using suits, makeup, animatronics, puppets, masks, and CGI.

Whether you are a designer, animator or an aspiring makeup artist, this book will entertain, challenge, inspire, and inform.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780240808468
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 11/22/2006
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 784,310
  • Product dimensions: 9.04 (w) x 10.24 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

The book will begin with a brief historical timeline and overview of creatures in the movies. From the ice-monsters and Lunar sprites of George Méliès' earliest fantasies to the mind-blowing CG creations of the 21st century, this section will provide a concise historical summary of the creatures, the films, the creative talents, and the techniques.
The main focus of the book will be in-depth profiles highlighting the work of some of the most important contemporary artists and companies. Using first-hand interviews with many of the greatest names in special effects, Designing Movie Creatures and Characters will reveal what has inspired these artists, how their creations can be brought to life and, just as importantly, how they can be made to give great performances.
These chapters will look at conceptual design, how the techniques used to create a character are decided, the manufacturing process, and finally the performance.
All aspects of creature creation will be covered, from stop-motion and CGI animation, to puppets, performers in suits, and full-scale animatronic beasts.


Monster History
A look at the role of creatures in a century of cinema, dating from the earliest cinema experiment of Melies all the way through to today's CGI, motion capture, and animatronics. Includes stills, concept art, and on-set imagery in the context of a cinema and technology timeline.

Ray Harryhausen
The 'grandfather' of movie monsters has inspired generations of designers and special effects experts. He reveals the secrets of designing and building convincing characters and why he believes his 'old-fashioned' techniques produced the most magical results. Includes drawings, stills, photos of his original models, and an explanation of stop-motion techniques (which have also been used as recently as Star Wars, Robocop, and Terminator).

HR Giger
An interview with visionary concept artist HR Giger, designer of the original Alien. What creative processes led to the final design of one of cinema's most feared predators? Includes concept art, production stills, costumes, and model-shop images showing the creature being built.

Patrick Tatopoulos
The inspiration behind the character design of Godzilla, Independence Day and I Robot talks about character design from concept to finished on-screen creation, together with the technologies and the step by step processes. Includes concept art, production processes, wireframes, renders, and stills.

Douglas Chiang
Imagining a galaxy far, far away. How George Lucas's screenplays were interpreted to produce character concepts for Star Wars Episodes I-III. Including the complete concept and design process for key characters such as Jar Jar Binks and General Grievous, with step by step illustrations.

Amalgamated Dynamics
A look behind the scenes at ADI, the creature makers for Alien Vs Predator. How art department designs are translated into physical puppets and costumes, with images covering each stage of thwe process.

Stan Winston
The master of animatronics talks about Jurassic Park, Terminator and Artificial Intelligence, among others, and explains how animatronics work, and how the puppets are designed, built, and operated.

Jim Henson's Creature Shop
Three decades of pioneering character performance technology from hand-puppets to digitally driven performance systems, together with illustrations, scematics, on-set production shots, etc.

Walt Conti
Designing animatronic characters that perform under water for Free Willy, The Perfecrt Storm and Deep Blue Sea. How the most sublime of nature's creatures are recreated in silicone and foam rubber, with step-by-step processes, illustrations, workshop images, and stills.

Rick Baker
A conversation with the designer of apes for Gorillas in the Mist, Mighty Joe Young and Planet of the Apes, together with the 1976 remake of King Kong-Baker also explains what he thinks about CGI apes and creatures in the current generation of films. Concept sketches show how the features of well-known performers were blended with those of ape species for Planet of the Apes. Includes other production images and stills.

Peter Elliot
Master ape inpersonator for Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan and Planet of the Apes on thinking and acting like an ape.

Andy Serkis
The provider of motion-captured performances for the characters Gollum and King Kong discusses how he thinks his way into a performance and what he can bring to a digitally created character. Includes onset images and an exploration of motion-capture techniques.

Joe Letteri
Visual effects supervisor for The Lord of the Rings on bringing JRR Tolkein's fantasies to life, from the octopus-like Watcher to elephantine Mumakil and the trilogy's signature achievement; Gollum. How the characters were designed and how the methods used to create them were chosen. Includes an interview with head of Weta workshop, Richard Taylor, production images, concept art, stills, etc.

Weta Digital
The New Zealand visual effects facility shows how it created the latest incarnation of King Kong, how their dinosaurs have advanced since Jurassic Park and the complex techniques needed to produce computer-generated fur. With concept art, production images, and stills.

Phil Tippett
The master animator talks about the transition from stop motion to CGI, and explains the cultural, technological, and artistic challenges. With sketches, stills, and concept art.

Rob Coleman
ILM director of animation discusses the digital inhabitants of the Star Wars universe. Features concept art and sketches, plus stills from the recent trilogy.

Nick Dudman
From House-elfs to Womping Willows, British makeup maestro Nick Dudman on populating the worlds of Harry Potter. Includes concept art, sketches, and process illustrations.

Nick Parks
Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Parks on Aardman's 'low fi' plasticine approach in a big-budget, Hollywood world for the feature film Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the Were Rabbit. Includes on-set images and models.

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