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Giant Killer Robots Bring Supernatural Dogs To Life

VFX Firm Creates Gruesome Beast and Maw Effects for Blade Trinity (December 17, 2004)

Giant Killer Robots (GKR), an Oscar- and Emmy-winning visual effects boutique in San Francisco, generated many of the striking special effects used to create and heighten the gruesome features of the evil characters in New Line Cinema's Blade Trinity, the third installment in the Blade series. Specifically, GKR was tasked to develop visual effects for the Beast alter ego of Drake, lead antagonist, and the vampire's merciless dogs.

In the film, Drake is brought back to life by his fellow vampires to take on the title character, Blade. While appearing as a human, the most evil of all vampires has a skeletal structure made up of hundreds of tiny plates, rather than bones. The plates can shift and reconfigure under his skin to take on the appearance of anyone he chooses. GKR made the plate movements appear eerily true-to-life during Drake's physical transformation, with effects that cause the plates to ripple under his facial skin when he becomes angry or hurt.

GKR collaborated closely with the writer and director to realize their vision of the beast. The natural form of Drake is a large, devil-like beast with scores of menacing horns and protrusions. In the climactic fight scene with Blade, Drake's beast form is completely computer-generated, and highly graphic intensive.

"Creating visual effects for this project was an exciting and challenging opportunity for us to help conceptualize the Beast character and his vicious dogs," said John Vegher, VFX Supervisor and founding partner of Giant Killer Robots. "One of the most difficult sequences to generate was Drake's transformation from a human to his beast form, which required an extremely high level of detail. We combined our photorealistic visual effects expertise with manual and procedural animation to generate the illusion of a completely true-to-life, horrific beast."

GKR's ability to translate a creative vision to a truly convincing virtual reality has earned it a reputation as one of the most innovative and creative visual effects company in the industry, and is what caught the attention of the film's visual effects team.

"Visual effects play such a key role in this movie -- they are essential in defining the characters and evoking a necessary reaction with the audience," said Joe Bauer, visual effects supervisor, Blade Trinity. "We chose Giant Killer Robots to collaborate with us and develop effects for our evil characters and some of the most difficult shots, because we knew they could deliver the final results we were looking for within our tight timeline."

For the Blade Trinity project, GKR updated and refined their tracking technique, which matches the computer-generated effects with live characters to mimic organic motion and produce exceptionally realistic special effects. Tracking was particularly important for the evil dogs - a Pomeranian and pair of Rottweilers -- that appear to be normal at first but then viciously roar to reveal disgusting, drooling maws. To get the drool as true-to-life as possible, GKR studied real dogs and babies to perfect the natural flow of the drool and formation of saliva strings, then developed a "drool tool" to re-create the effect.

In total, GKR generated over 40 shots that were included in the feature film.

Giant Killer Robots recently completed more than 60 shots for another New Line Cinema film, Mask II-The Son of the Mask. GKR's past credits include the blockbuster sci-fi action films The Matrix: Reloaded and The Matrix: Revolutions (Warner Bros), Scooby-Doo and Scooby-Doo 2 (Warner Bros.), League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (20th Century Fox), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (C2 Pictures) and the Oscar-winning What Dreams May Come (Warner Bros.).

About Giant Killer Robots
Giant Killer Robots (GKR) is an Oscar and Emmy Award-winning visual effects boutique specializing in high-end, high-resolution CGI animation. Based in San Francisco, GKR serves all aspects of the entertainment industry; providing complete animation services from preliminary creative and technical guidance to final compositing. GKR provides clients a hands-on/ interactive work experience, withthe principals actively involved in every step of the process for every project to ensure the highest quality product. The partners and staff of GKR possess a unique combination of design skill and technical understanding, allowing GKR to act as both Art Department and CG production house, developing ideas from beginning to end.

For additional information on Giant Killer Robots, please visit


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Related Keywords:Giant Killer Robots, VFX, GKR, special effects, New Line Cinema, Blade Trinity, John Vegher, Joe Bauer, tracking, CGI, compositing,

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