Tuesday, April 28 2003

Posted on JediNet, Dark Horizons, Comic Book Resources

Looks like a lot people were present at WonderCon this past weekend, and they were all in for a treat! Here are three reviews of the same presentation by ILM, all with slightly different information, and all positive!

The following was originally posted on JediNet:

Mikk of the South Bay Star Wars Fan Club files this report from the ILM Hulk presentation at WonderCon (mild spoilers below):

The panel was hosted by 2 guys from ILM whose names I don't remember at the moment. They started out by screening the new Hulk trailer. This is not the international one that was just posted but the latest one which will premiere in a few weeks. I won't go into detail as it should be seen for itself but it featured a bit more about the story as well as many more fight scenes between the Hulk & the Army as well as many examples of the "Hulk Jump."

The presentation itself was mainly about how ILM spent a considerable amount of time trying to create a convincing human. Granted the Hulk has some "monster" in him but the majority of him is human, a muscled out human, but human none the less. They said that this was the first time they were creating a digital human for the screen, one that would be a main character & they wanted to get it right.
First off they showed a short video featuring panels from the original Hulk comic illustrating the Hulk's origin & then went on to short interview clips with various people associated with the movie.

Next they showed some pages of the "Hulk Book" which was a book printed up containing copies of various comic book pages grouped into categories such as rage, throwing, jumping, hands, etc. The idea was to use the illustrations of the Hulk comic artists as a frame of reference for the CGI Hulk. They went on to mention that Ang Lee would often request that certain scenes in the movie mimic if not down right copy specific comic book frames. Classic Hulk fans will be happy to hear that the movie Hulk closely resembles the Sal Buscema(sp?) era Hulk. Mainly in scale & measurements.

The next presentation was on the creation of the Hulk CGI model. They started out with a Hulk maquette that they scanned in. Once it was scanned in they went about modifying it to better match what Ang Lee wanted. They said that Ang didn't want to the Hulk to lumber but to act like an athlete.
Basically since the Hulk was a super muscular human he should act that way. Be fast & agile like a fit/in shape person would be, not be slow & plodding as one would expect. The ILMers said that this is why the Army has a hard time taking the Hulk down. Since their typical tools didn't really work on human skin ILM had to create a special set of "rules" that could be used by the animation software when it came to animation the muscles properly.

These rules allowed the animators to put the model in specific positions & have the software know what the other muscles, bones, & tendons should be doing, whether they should be stretched, flexed, relaxed, or what have you.

They then showed a quick animation cycle of what looked like the Hulk exercising but was in fact the animated model using all of this muscles. (hopefully they'll add it to the DVD) In an effort to make the Hulk look as real as possible animators even went so far as to hand correct specific things that didn't look right after the animation was done. They said that although the tools that they wrote was great they only got them 99% there the final 1% had to be done by hand.

After the muscles were created then came the skin, which allowed for not only realistic movement but for the muscles to move around underneath as expected, like when the Hulk flexes to pick something up. The skin was then "textured" with pores to make it look like real skin as well as veins, sweat, facial & body hair. Finally what little clothing the Hulk has was added to give the Hulk realistic looking movement for the various ripped pants that he sports in the film.

The final presentation was a breakdown of the steps necessary to animate the tank swinging scene from the trailers. I won't go into detail as anyone who knows CGI can probably figure out what was done, plus I don't think I would remember everything anyway. One thing I will say is that the Hulk's movements in the scene are based on a moves from a combination of a linebacker, ILM employee, & Ang Lee himself.

All in all I thought it was another great peek behind the curtain into what goes into the creation of the increasingly complex animated characters. And the discussion as to how they actually went into the creation of the CGI Hulk really put my mind at easy in regards to how ILM is handling the Hulk.
I feel more confident then ever that the Hulk will be a fully realized, realistic character. At least as realistic as a 10 foot tall, 4 foot wide, green goliath can be. I just hope that the film will give us a chance to really seen all of ILMs hard work & attention to detail.

The Hulk looks to give the other summer blockbusters a run for their money in the highly competitive summer season. A big thanks to Mikk for the report.

The following was originally posted on Dark Horizons:

The Hulk : ILM held a presentation on Saturday at the "WonderCon" convention in San Fransisco during which they premiered the new exclusive Final Domestic Trailer of the Hulk (not to be confused with the 'International Trailer' released last week), as well as giving a presentation on the effects used to create him and 'Kailem' delivered this in-depth report:

"Universal delivered the new trailer directly to the convention shortly before ILM's effects presentation, which was then shown once before and once after the presentation itself, which involved them talking about how they used the comic books for inspiration and reference points and some technical breakdowns of how he was created on computer. They showed a short clip of the Hulk growing larger (not 'hulking out' though but rather growing in size while angered) and also detailed exactly how the 'tank tossing' scene was constructed and how all the elements of the scene were modified and corrected until they were happy with it.

Now the trailer itself; it opens with a young Bruce Banner in his bedroom with his mother talking about how he'll go off to school and become a famous scientist as there was something special inside him. Then there's text that's intercut with clips that talks about how there's something inside him just waiting to be triggered or released. In between that text we see Bruce and Betty preparing for a gamma ray experiment that goes wrong. Bruce pushes a scientist out of the lab, but he's trapped when the rays flood the room. Then there are some shots from the international trailer such as Bruce beginning to Hulk out in front of Talbot in the house, a better show of Banner's foot 'hulking out' as his shoe explodes off his foot, and then the trailer kicks into gear.

The rest goes by pretty fast but here's some of what happens; we see Bruce's father talking about how he experiemented on Bruce when he was a baby and some shots showing that. More shots of the Hulk Dogs, beginning with Bruce's dad telling him over the phone that he's sending a 'special surprise'. There's the shot of one of the Hulk Dogs on the tree snarling at the Hulk (most likely the same one from the International Trailer) and another where they are attacking a car with Betty inside.

There are also lots of shots of Hulk jumping, including a shot of him flying through the air, high above the desert. This is most likely in the middle of one of the three-mile jumps. An apparently "awesome" shot of the Hulk running at full speed down a desert mountain side while swatting away missiles that three attack helicopters are firing at him.

There's a few shots from the San Francisco rampage scene, including one where Hulk is about to toss something (most likely a chunk of the destroyed pavemen/road he's ripped up) at a chopper, but stops when he sees Betty inside (the latest image from the film that was revealed about a week ago depicts this scene). The trailer finishes with Talbot attacking Banner in his house, who turns to him and says "You're making me angry. I don't think you'll like me when I'm angry!" before the final shot which shows the Hulk on his 'Frisco rampage smashing the ground with his fists causing cars to roll down a hill."

The following was originally posted on Comic Book Resources:

Universal pictures presented a panel on "Hulk" at this weekend's WonderCon. Occasional Comics2Film contributor Douggary Grant was on hand as CG F/X gurus Paul Giacoppo and Glen McIntosh hosted the session. Here's Douggary's recap of the panel:

"They opened up the panel by talking a little about the long process this film took before actually being made. The producer (Gale Anne Hurd) has been trying to get this film made for almost twelve years. She had been waiting for the right combination of cast, crew, and technology to come together, so she could make the film the way it needs to be made.

"They spoke about how Ang Lee picked up his life and moved to the Bay Area just so he could be directly involved with the lengthy pre and post production to insure his vision was carried out. Lee had very strong feelings of exactly how the Hulk should look and how the film as a whole should be handled. 

"Giacoppo and McIntosh showed the new trailer which had a bunch of awesome new scenes: it showed the accident that triggers Banner turning into the Hulk, Hulk leaping, Hulk battling tanks, jets, and helicopters, and last but not least the Hulk dogs (they actually looked pretty cool). 

"The most important thing to note was that the CG imaging of the Hulk was far improved from the last trailer. I asked and got confirmation that the previous trailer had included effects scenes that were not 100% finished but that they felt looked good enough to make it into the trailer. I have read about people complaining that Hulk looked too much like a game sprite or too 'green.' As far as looking like a video game character I can say its not even close, he looks amazing! 

"For being too green, that Ang Lee has the Hulk go through several different types of transformations throughout the film. There are actually at least three different sizes (ranging from 9ft to 15ft!) and depending on his 'mood' the shade of green can change. 
"The panelists said Ang was VERY specific about what color he wanted in which scenes and wanted the 'jade green' (the color he is when he swings the tank around) to stay no matter what.

"They spoke about Ang being a long time fan of the comic and helping to put together a style guide that was distributed to everyone working on the film. It was a book containing actual panels taken from the comics. Many artists were represented including John Byrne, Sal Buscema (who's scale for the Hulk was the one used in the film, about 5x human mass. They compared it to the Troll in 'Lord of the Rings'), and Jack Kirby.

"There were a lot of test shots shown...test footage of body builders or athletes doing various Hulk-like activities (like smashing faux office furniture or leaping) they were very careful not to make Hulk look like Superman flying when he took to the skies in one of his trademark 3 mile leaps. 

"They had tons of character studies done so they could make sure hulk as real as possible. Anatomy experts were asked to make sure that the muscles moved and flexed correctly. To do this right they did extensive studies of every part of the Hulk's body going through its entire range of motion. This footage was then gone over by experts and corrected where it didn't behave just right. I can't imagine the amount of work that went into just these studies!"

Those reviews all sound great! Remember to go and see X2 this Friday for your glimpse of this trailer. It should also appear on around the same time, but this is one time I will pass on the advance trailer and wait to see it on the big screen, as it should be viewed!

Wanna talk about this bit of news? Start a discussion over at the boards.

Check out the fan trailer here.


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