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Matrix Revolutions Powered by Giant Killer Robots

Giant Killer Robots (GKR), an Oscar-winning vfx boutique in San Francisco, provided pre-visualization, design, effects animation, rendering and final compositing services to create the subterranean metropolis Zion in THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS. GKR also served as a lead coordinating firm for critical action sequences in Zion that required photorealism and precise animation. REVOLUTIONS features vfx with a Japanese anime-like feel that blends fantasy and reality. GKR worked on THE MATRIX RELOADED and REVOLUTIONS for more than two years, in conjunction with Eon Entertainment.

The firm's combination of expertise in architecture, 3D design and engineering qualified GKR to build upon original artistic concepts and fully realize the complete underground milieu of Zion. GKR created the environmental aesthetic of Zion: construction materials, atmosphere and lighting, bringing the virtual underground city to life. GKR collaborated with other visual effects houses on several elements. "The Siege" sequence, in which the machine creatures called Sentinels attack the underground city of Zion, was co-produced in this way. GKR then fused the independently created elements to produce seamless final composites.

"We knew that GKR had the right mix of traditional architectural and design background, high-end animation skills and attention to detail required to weave together the key shots and coordinate with the other visual effects firms to create extremely photorealistic 3D environments and ensure consistency in pivotal sequences, "stated John Gaeta, the Academy Award winning visual effects supervisor of THE MATRIX trilogy.

GKR's challenge was to integrate live-action figures into this virtual world of Zion. GKR created the illusion of thousands of people walking along catwalks; the audience is unable to distinguish between what is real and what is computer-generated.

In addition to taking the lead on several Zion shots, GKR generated shots for the "Lightning Gun Scene," in which Neo and Bane battle for control of a sophisticated gun aboard the hovercraft Logos. The technology and software used to create the lightening emitted by the futuristic weapon was developed by GKR and then used by several other visual effect houses. GKR also produced a scene within the "Club Hell" sequence in which an animated gun falls toward Trinity in slow motion.

GKR was also responsible for the Zion "Temple Scene" appearing in both RELOADED NAD REVOLUTIONS, which required intricate animation and tedious amounts of detail. Inside the Temple, thousands of virtual people cheer on Morpheus in an underground cavern complete with virtual lava pits, steam and rock terrain.

"Giant Killer Robots' goalwas to perfect very complex 3D environments, and make them as real as possible with scale, motion, lighting and environmental effects," said Mike Schmitt, GKR's visual effects supervisor. "We were given creative license in developing the concept and design of Zion, and were involved from start to finish in its architecture."

Currently, Giant Killer Robots is working on Warner Bros.' SCOOBY-DOO TOO and New Line's BLADE III. Past credits include the Oscar-winning WHAT DREAMS MAY COME, LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES and SCOOBY-DOO.

GKR ( specializes in high-end, high resolution CGI animation. GKR provides complete animation services from preliminary creative and technical guidance to final compositing.

Bill Desowitz's picture

Bill Desowitz, former editor of VFXWorld, is currently the Crafts Editor of IndieWire.