Why It's Not Easy Being Green

It took 69 technical artists, 41 animators, 35 compositors, 10 muscle animators, nine CG modelers, eight supervisors, six skin painters, five motion capture wranglers and three art directors 18 months of painting 100 layers of skin, creating 1,165 muscle
It took 69 technical artists, 41 animators, 35 compositors, 10 muscle animators, nine CG modelers, eight supervisors, six skin painters, five motion capture wranglers and three art directors 18 months of painting 100 layers of skin, creating 1,165 muscle shapes and logging 2.5 million computer hours on six terrabytes of date to give birth to the centerpiece of Universal's $150 million film "The Hulk."

All that for a creature who can lift 5,000 pounds, swing tanks, jump onto helicopters, leap three miles in a single bound and run 100 miles per hour.

In addition, it was important for him to look as realistic as a 15-foot monster the color of salad can. The green was toned down, the skin pores and hairs were detailed, and arguments were had about what parts of the body would sweat most during fight scenes.

"It was our job to create this," Michael DiComo, computer graphic supervisor sighs to Zap2it.com, "but Ang Lee said the whole time that if he could find an actor who could do all that, he'd hire him on the spot."

In the end, the Hulk is indeed big, mean and definitely green, but the computer-generated specimen is also a few parts Robert DeNiro, a tad Alec Guinness, a piece or two of Humphrey Bogart, the head of Elvis and a whole lot of director Lee.

"We studied the face and smirks of Humphrey Bogart in 'Casablanca,' and looked at Robert DeNiro," says Industrial Light & Magic animation sequence supervisor Glen McIntosh.

"And we used some of the characteristics of the face of Alec Guinness in his old stuff, like 'Oliver Twist,'" adds eight-time Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren.

It was Lee who put his whole body into it though, showing actors, artists and technicians how the monster would move.

"He would walk around posing and jumping. It became kind of a joke on the set," says co-star Sam Elliott. "He dressed up in this tight suit with all these dots on it, and be the Hulk."

When that didn't work, Lee held up a stick with a large Hulk head on it that the cast and crew affectionately dubbed "Elvis."

Of course, the effects crew had actor Eric Bana, who stars as the Hulk's alter ego, scientist Bruce Banner, as their go-to point from the beginning.

"We started with the eyes, that was the most important. We worked with Eric Bana's eyes, and we then tried to figure out how much glint to put in them, and how much to make them water," explains Wilson Tang, visual effects art director. "It was Ang's favorite part."

The results scared Bana.

"I saw the close-ups and thought, 'Well, yeah, it does look like Bruce Banner.'"

"The Hulk" opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, June 20.
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EarthsMightiestAdmin
6/11/2003
Zap2it

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