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'Shrek 2': A Visual Development Gallery

Taking visual cues from Gustav Dore and other classical artists, the look of Shrek 2 has more detail, richness and lighting bounce than its blockbuster predecessor, as evidenced by this exclusive visual development gallery.

Those green ogres may be ugly but not the production design, as you can see in this visual development gallery for DreamWorks Shrek 2 (opening May 19). They clearly strived for greater detail and richness in creating the visual look of the sequel. Taking inspiration from Gustav Dore, the renowned 19th century French illustrator and engraver as well as the classic Disney animated fairy tales that he inspired, production designer Guillaume Aretos and his colleagues improve the lighting to help us better experience the pop cultural cornucopia that underlies the Shrek environment. Overall they used a lot more displacement and global illumination in obtaining a greater realistic bounce light.

Shrek 2 is a lot darker because theres a lot more happening at night, Aretos explains. There are a lot of medieval paintings and illustrations that we used quite a bit also. Other than that there are my own influences, which are classical paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries, but those are not as direct. In fact, nothing was absolutely direct. The design of Shrek is always a twist on reality anyway, so we tried to [pack] as much detail and interest as we could in the imagery.

Fiona and Shrek enjoy a muddy honeymoon. Visual development design by Huy Nguyen. All images courtesy of DreamWorks Pictures.

The newlyweds settle into their new home. Visual development design by James Wilson.


The couple travel to Far Far Away to dine with Fionas parents. Visual development design by Steve Pilcher (top) and Peter Zaslav and Steve Pilcher.


Shrek, Fiona and Donkey arrive in Far Far Away. After being greeted by King Harold and Queen Lillian and their royal subjects with great fanfare, the couple discovers the local Rodeo Drive. Visual development design by (top to bottom) Peter Zaslav, Guillaume Aretos, James Wilson, Shannon Jeffries and Peter Zaslav.

The Royal Couple take time for themselves. Visual development design by Peter Zaslav.

Shrek contemplates by a stream before being attacked by Puss n Boots. Visual development design by Shannon Jeffries.

Things turn spooky at the entrance to the inn. Visual development design by Alex Puvilland.

Daddys evil plot is revealed in a bar. Visual development design by Peter Zaslav.


In the morning, Fiona awakens to find Shrek is gone. In the same sequence, the back of the castle is shown. Visual development design by Huy Nguyen.


Three color key images from the Stealing the Potion sequence. Visual development design by Erwin Madrid (top) and Peter Zaslav.


Shrek, with help from Donkey and Pussn Boots, steals the potion. Visual development design by Peter Zaslav (top) and Robert MacKenzie.

Familiar childrens storybook characters watch a magic mirror TV. Visual development design by Yuri Bartoli.

A red carpet arrival. Visual development design by Peter Zaslav.

Bill Desowitz's picture

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