Computer Graphics World

March / April 2016

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he feral boy Mowgli's adventures with animals in India have been a familiar part of many people's lives since Rudyard Kipling first published his series of children's stories in maga- zines during 1893–1894. The collection, now known as "The Jungle Book," has inspired com- ic books, cartoons, animated movies, and live-action films. The most famous of these adaptations is, arguably, Dis- ney's popular animated feature, the 1967 The Jungle Book. And it is from this film that Director Jon Favreau drew inspiration for this year's CG/live-action "re-imag- ining." Favreau's The Jungle Book tries to capture the magic of the animated feature while embrac- ing technology available in 2016. "The film plays homage to the 1967 film, but it's a movie rooted in real life," says Visual Effects Supervisor Rob Legato. "It's a fun experience, and part of that fun is getting dark and scared. When the tiger is chas- ing Mowgli, that tiger looks real. Your heart will be pumping like crazy. But the film also has light moments, comedy, and music." The tiger, however, is CG, as are all the animals in the film. Ninety-five percent of the movie was shot in sets on greenscreen or bluescreen stages. Produced by Walt Disney Pic- tures, The Jungle Book, features an all-star cast of voices for Mowgli's animal guides, protec- tors, companions, and enemies. Ben Kingsley is Bagheera, the black panther that leads Mowgli to the wolf den. Lupita Nyong'o and Giancarlo Esposito provide mother and father wolves Rak- sha and Akela's voices. The Ben- gal tiger Shere Khan threatens Mowgli's life using Idris Elba's voice. Baloo, a bear that speaks with Bill Murray's voice, guides Mowgli away from danger with help from Bagheera. Along the way, Mowgli encounters the dangerous and manipulative animals Kaa, a python voiced by Scarlett Johansson, and King Louie (Christopher Walken), an orangutan-like ape based on the prehistoric Gigantopithecus. Lastly, Neel Sethi plays the child Mowgli, the only live-action actor in the film. Legato was the overall visual effects supervisor for The Jungle Book, with Andy Jones the overall character animation supervisor. The Moving Picture Company (MPC) created all the CG animals and environments for 1,200 shots, which comprise most of the film. Weta Digital handled a sequence with King Louie and various monkeys (see "Monkey Business," page 14). Adding the environments and characters to live-action plates filmed with Sethi took nearly 1,000 postproduction artists in the two studios more than a year. At MPC, Visual Effects Super- visor Adam Valdez oversaw the USING TECHNIQUES HONED ON TWO OF THE MOST INNOVATIVE FEATURE FILMS, GRAVITY AND AVATAR, FILMMAKERS CREATE A COMPLEX CG WORLD FOR A HUMAN BOY RAISED BY WOLVES IN INDIA BY BARBARA ROBERTSON VIRTUAL VÉRITÉ T ©2016 Disney

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