Rango marks ILM's first foray into feature-length animation. What inspired you to take on a project like this?
GEOFF CAMPBELL, Model Supervisor - Rango: I'd say most artists at ILM have had a desire to try our hand at a full length feature animation for years but because of our effects background no studio had offered until Gore presented us with Rango. Honestly I think we had this idea that it would be a lot harder and longer process than it actually took. But Rango was a fantastic film to work on. Hard work, but lots of fun.
There was also excitement from the outset that this was a Gore Verbinski film with Crash McCreery as Production Designer. Many of us had worked with Gore and Crash on the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films so were big fans from the outset.
Could you introduce us to the artists on your team and a bit about their backgrounds?
GEOFF CAMPBELL: We call our group of modelers and texture artists the Digital Model Shop or DMS for short. It's really a continuation of the original ILM Model Shop from the Star Wars days. We have a truly dedicated team of artists, some of whom have been with us pre-digitally and others who joined us when we were crewing Rango.
Maybe the best way to introduce the artists is to match some of them up with their models:
• Frank Gravatt modeled Rango and has been with ILM for over 17 years. He has a love of monsters and classic monster makeup and has a great style for bringing out the iconic in his character work.
• Jung-Seung Hong modeled Rango's elaborate and quirky facial library. He's had a lot of practice with facial performance shapes from his earlier work on Davy Jones.
• Steve Walton was our Texture supervisor and painted Rango, while Damian Steel was Rango's look development artist.
• Ryan Calloway modeled and textured the Mariachi band.
• Patrick Gagne and Michael Koperwas worked on Rattlesnake Jake and both bring unique talents to the group. Patrick is gifted sculptor and modeler, while Michael is one of the creators of our proprietary facial software.
• Lana Lan is one of our most technical modelers and she happens to have a fantastic aesthetic sense. She modeled Spoons and Merimack, the banker who ends up dead in the desert.
• Kris Costa modeled the Mayor and Spirit of the West. He's probably the best-known ILM'er on the ZBrush blogs.
• Veteran artist Sunny Wei modeled the bats and also Lucky, the young rodent child with a predilection for dynamite.
• Martin Murphy was the painter on Beans and the little mousy girl Priscilla, as well as modeling and painting the cactus spirits that roam the desert and turn on the water.
• I was the modeler on Beans and Priscilla with expert help from Gio Nakpil on Beans' facial library. Gio also modeled Wounded Bird.
• Paul Giacoppo modeled Rock Eye and Mordecai, a young chipmunk with braces.
• Lenny Lee modeled Lenny, (we make a point of matching modelers up with characters of the same name whenever possible).
• Mark Siegel modeled the hawk.
• Rock Hwang modeled Road Kill.
• Can Tuncer and Philp Koche modeled Dutch and Jedidiah.
• Mia Lee modeled Elbows and Miss Daisy, and helped define our ZBrush maquette process which I'll talk about in a moment.
We also had some great help on our Theatricalus wardrobe from HonWui Yap, HuaiYuan Teh and Joana Garrido, from ILM Singapore.