Creating a Chameleon Cowboy - Industrial Light & Magic
Rango is an animated homage to the western movie. A pet chameleon and aspiring actor, Rango finds himself in the old west town of Dirt when his glass terrarium shatters on a stark stretch of highway in the New Mexico desert.
With over 100 characters in the film, the ILM animation team was facing daunting creative and technical challenges, needing 65 animators at one point to keep up with the large number of critters.
Demanding nothing short of perfection, the team used Autodesk® Maya® to create the extraordinary detail required to bring Dirt and its inhabitants to life. Rango’s face alone would eventually require over 300 controllers for the 1100 shots he inhabits. And because our hero was on a spiritual journey of sorts, ILM needed a tool to help them communicate the depth of emotion involved with such a quest. Wanting to stay true to the blank nature of a chameleon’s eyes, the team instead used Maya to focus on the myriad wrinkles around the eyes, delivering the emotional wallop through the subtle changes in the skin—a task nearly as demanding as Rango’s own crusade.