ILM Singapore speaks making of Rango, released today worldwide

By ANIMATION XPRES... | 4 March, 2011 - 13:07

Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), a division of Lucasfilm Ltd, located in San Francisco and Singapore, sets a new standard with the release of their first feature length animated film, Rango.

Established in 2006, the Singapore based division enabled ILM to draw upon global creative resources. Since both groups share a common technology network, the team in San Francisco can seamlessly hand off work as they are wrapping up their day and Singapore is just arriving at the studio. The result has been a highly productive production pipeline with Singapore making meaningful contributions to the blockbuster movies that ILM works on.

ILM Singapore played a significant role in Rango, with 100 artists, technical staff and production support working for over a year on modeling, rigging, creature simulation, animation, FX, digital matte painting, lighting and compositing.

“One of the largest challenges for ILM Singapore was to assemble an entirely new team most of whom had never worked together or on a feature production and fast track them to level of work expected at ILM” says Stuart McAra, Producer ILM Singapore.

ILM Singapore ran a dedicated Jedi Master’s program for Creature Simulation. Over 12 apprentices were trained and they formed the core team for this department. In addition talent came from all over the studio; a trait unique to Lucasfilm Singapore is the opportunity to work across divisions on international productions.

“Rango is a great example of the benefit of talent sharing across our Singapore studio, as we had visual effects artists from ILM working alongside artists transferred from our TV animation team as well as artists with core expertise in games on this project,” said Xavier Nicolas, General Manager Lucasfilm Singapore. “The diversity of the team really created a great level of energy around the project and the breakthrough animation demonstrates the sophistication of our Singapore artists and the true power of ILM.”

Lighters and compositors were given the challenge of making everything look far more realistic and photographic than your average animated feature, from the sweeping dessert terrains to the majestic bat canyon. Daily video conference calls and feedback meant that the work done in Singapore was consistent with that of San Francisco.

“The team in Singapore was able to keep the spirit of Rango and the other characters movements and expressions uniform so that their work cut seamlessly with that of the ILM San Francisco artists” notes Patrick Cohen, CG Supervisor

Ultimately the key to this success was the great collaboration and communication between the two ILM locations. Artists from Singapore travelled to San Francisco to set the necessary groundwork for their departments. In addition, the US team spent time in Singapore studio mentoring the artists.

ILM Singapore is continually looking for the best and brightest talent within the Asia region and around the world.  As the premiere digital media studio, it provides extraordinary growth opportunities for its employees.