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Giant Killer Robots Tackles Blade: Trinity and Son of the Mask

Hot off its recent work on SCOOBY-DOO 2: MONSTERS UNLEASHED, San Francisco-based Giant Killer Robots (GKR) is now concentrating on two upcoming New Line features for release in 2004: BLADE: TRINITY and SON OF THE MASK.

While the boutique has made its reputation on photoreal environments (ranging from the Oscar-winning WHAT DREAMS MAY COME to the two MATRIX sequels), GKR is currently building up its character animation, as evidenced by its recent work. In fact, according to exec producer Amber Wong, GKR is doing "complex character work" - mainly virtual humans -- for the BLADE sequel (set for an Aug. 13 release), in which the hybrid vampire hunter (Wesley Snipes) allies himself Nightstalker vampire killers. This will encompass some 50 shots, the same number of animation effects for THE MASK sequel (set for an Oct. 15 release).

For SCOOBY-DOO 2: MONSTERS UNLEASHED (under Peter Obedorfer's supervision at the company), GKR created the 10,000-Volt Ghost, taking the original 2D concept from the cartoon series and developing lightening shaders for the 3D look. The studio also created the Cotton Candy monster, studying practical cotton candy and developing a shader and adding sparkles for the CG creature.

In addition, GKR did the 50-second virtual slide through opening in only five weeks. Originally intended to be only 10 seconds, the studio managed to accommodate the additional photoreal work without a hitch, modeling a handful of buildings with different facades, and painting and texturing a 2D/3D approach.

"As a small company, we try to target specific sequences that we can give our undivided attention that are creative or technical challenges," Wong told VFXWorld.

After recently moving into a larger facility to accommodate a larger full-time staff (rising from 30 to 40) and more projects, GKR still maintains a slow-growth posture. Artists remain generalists but some computer science programmers have been added to customize a bit. GKR is also collaborating more closely with other studios too. For instance, on MATRIX REVOLUTIONS, they worked on Zion environments and shared lighting with Sony Pictures Imageworks, which focused on the Sentinels. GKR also worked with Canadian-based Meteor Studios.

Among other changes, Blue Arc servers have been added for better backup and Softimage XSI has been added to the animation arsenal that still consistently relies on Maya. GKR also uses Deep Paint for lighting and textures, Boujou for tracking and Digital Fusion and Shake for compositing.

GKR ( is an award-winning visual effects boutique specializing in high-end, high resolution CGI animation. GKR provides complete animation services from preliminary creative and technical guidance to final compositing. The boutique services all aspects of the entertainment industry, including movies, commercials and music videos.

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
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