ComputerCafe Puts Some Fight Into The One

ComputerCafe's animation team created a pair of photorealistic, "chi" police officers and their motorcycles for a critical fight scene in the new Jet Li starrer THE ONE. ComputerCafe also composited the chi stuntmen with live-action plates in which Jet Li appears to engage them in hand-to-hand combat. The finished effects shots are seamlessly intercut with other shots in which real actors and motorcycles were used. Directed by James Wong, THE ONE centers on a sheriff's deputy who confronts an evil alternate version of himself (both played by Li) from a parallel universe. The film is filled with high tech special effects, innovative choreography and high action fight sequences, many of which feature Li fighting himself. ComputerCafe's animation is employed in a 23-shot fight sequence that occurs midway through the film. In the scene, Li rushes a pair of police officers and uses his bare hands to stop their motorcycles. The two cops are thrown into the air. Li leaps up, kicks the two men to the ground and lifts a motorcycle in each hand, using them to beat the men. Since the computer animated police officers and motorcycles needed to match, down to the smallest detail, their real world counterparts, ComputerCafe animators employed one of the motorcycles used in the production as reference in building a highly detailed model from scratch. "Photorealism is one of the strengths of our animators," said ComputerCafe digital effects supervisor David Ebner. "They replicated virtually every nut and bolt on that motorcycle. They also carefully studied the way the bike moved in order to animate it properly. They even calculated its weight so that they could give the model an appropriate feeling of mass when Li lifts one over his head." In order to replicate the police officers, ComputerCafe had full body cyberscans made of the two actors then, working from props and costumes used in the film, they modeled the officers' uniforms, guns, walkie-talkies and name tags. Photographs of the actors' faces were mapped onto the computer-animated models to complete the effect. A couple of the shots in the sequence appear in slow motion. One of those shows Li turning his head to avoid a bullet fired at him. ComputerCafe artists created a 3D bullet and composited it with the live- action background. Animators calculated the proper "slow motion" speed for the bullet to travel as it crosses the frame in order to make the illusion appear plausible. ComputerCafe also performed rig removal on live-action elements used in the sequence by digitally erasing the wires and harnesses that held Li as he flew through the air for his acrobatic fight sequences.