Computer Graphics World

March / April 2015

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24 cgw m a r c h . a p r i l 2 0 1 5 "Neill set an aggressive goal for discovery on the character," Harvey says. "We experimented with how the movement might work. And right aer that, we picked three mini-sequences in the film to try to put a soul into the metal robot." The three sequences were when Chappie first wakes up, when he is beaten by street dudes, and a comedic scene. "We knew if we could get him to work across those arcs, we would be successful," Harvey says. "We worked on his antenna ears, his brow bars, his chin bar. We had lights that could blink if he was thinking or processing. We took the movement of Sharlto's eyes in quiet, subtle moments, and applied it to all of Chappie's head and had it twitch like an eye might. We really pushed the ear and eyebrow animation until it was almost cartoonish, to help the emotions read." On set, Harvey had encour- aged the actors playing the robots to interact with the environment. "It helps sell the tangibility," Harvey says. "Any time we could get that interaction, we tried to use it. It breaks that sense of disbelief. Chappie touches things, he interacts." By the end of April, the team had completed the three mini-sequences. "Neill came to Image Engine with a couple of his people, and we screened these little clips," Harvey says. "We had set the bar high, and you never know. But, Neill was very excited. We were all laughing. It was a really cool moment." "When I read the script, I had one idea of who Chappie was," Harvey adds. "When I watched Sharlto, I had a whole new vision. He did such an amazing job. And then when we did the keystone tests, all the pieces came together – the design, Sharlto, animation. It was exciting to see all the pieces work, to see the emotions coming through." Even though Chappie didn't have the $200 million budget of many visual effects films, the crew at Image Engine managed to create 1,000 shots with a believable CG character in a starring role, and even more remarkable, the character is a metal robot with an emotion- al arc. Imagine what Director Blomkamp will think of next. ■ The Many Parts of Chappie (And Moose) The star of Director Neill Blomkamp's movie Chappie is a CG robot. Distributed by Sony/Columbia, the sci-fi action film follows the mech as it begins to think and feel for itself. Image Engine created the CG character, the police robots called Scouts, and Chappie's nemesis, a non-intelligent robot named Moose. Because Chappie needed to be 3D-printed, the model was 99 percent watertight. To accommodate everything that happens to the CG Chappie during the film, the model had 16 stages and 12 sub-stages, and many parts: CHAPPIE FINAL POLYGON COUNT: 3,976,511 GENERIC SCOUT FINAL POLY COUNT: 3,226,042 OBJECTS: 2,740 BOLTS: 400 PISTONS: 40 UV TILES: 445 BALL JOINTS: 0 WIRES/HOSES: 161 TOTAL TEXTURE MAPS ALL VERSIONS: 56,148 UDIM TEXTURE TILES: 538 TEXTURE RESOLUTION RANGES PER UDIM TILE: 256 – 4,096 TOTAL TEXTURE MEMORY SIZE ON DISK FOR ALL: 152.3 gb UNIQUE TEXTURE TYPES: 151 Moose, on the other hand, had only nine damage states, but being a larger robot with many guns, more polygons. MOOSE FINAL POLY COUNT: 6,313,018 OBJECTS: 2,785 BOLTS: 7,000 plus WIRES/HOSES: 100 TOTAL TEXTURE MAPS: 14,832 UDIM TEXTURE TILES: 824 TEXTURE RESOLUTION RANGES PER UDIM TILE: 256 – 4,096 Barbara Robertson ( is an award-winning writer and a contributing editor for CGW. ANIMATORS USED BODY LANGUAGE TO CREATE CHAPPIE'S EMOTIONAL PERFORMANCE. VIDEO: GO TO EXTRAS IN THE MARCH.APRIL 2015 ISSUE BOX. C G W. C O M

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