How were you brought on for John Carter? What was your role on the project?
We were contacted by Colin Wilson, one of the executive producers from "Avatar". He said he was doing "John Carter" and they wanted to show Andrew Stanton the design pipeline that we had developed for James Cameron.
We met with Andrew and to be honest, I think he was a bit confused as to why he was being dragged into the middle of the San Fernando Valley to talk about doing the digital designs for J.C. with us. After all he has Pixar in his back pocket. But Andrew said he could see the value of our design methods immediately. So we were on!
My job, along with Simon Webber was to design all the non-human characters in John Carter. And we did, with the exception of the White Apes.
You worked directly with director Andrew Stanton. How exactly did that work?
Andrew Stanton and Marc Andrews would sit with me and we would go over the designs in ZBrush and do all the tweaking right there. It was a really fluid process. We could push and pull the models around until we had something he liked.
I could then spend the rest of the week refining that and when we would meet again he would either sign off on it or revise it. When Andrew sees what we wants he signs off with no fear. That comes from his years of experience with the long animation process and having to make decsions early in the game.
What characters did you work on?
I did the designs for the four-armed Tharks, including Tars Tarkus (Willem Dafoe), Tal Hadjus (Thomas Haden Church), Sola (Samantha Morton) and Sarkoja (Polly Walker). That also included the Warhoons, which were the barbarian versions of the Tharks and the Thark infants.
I also designed the Thoats, which were the giant horned reptilian cattle that the Tharks ride. I did a ton of work on Woola. (Ten legs; that was fun!) I did the Banths. The movie only showed them as rotted carcasses in the arena, but they were like a
cross between sharks and panthers. Hopfully they will be in John Carter 2!