Ken McGaugh and Dennis Yoo are parents of children at Seatoun School and they work at WETA in Miramar. We were very lucky last week to welcome them into the library so we could learn something about their jobs.
One of their most recent projects has been Mortal Engines, a film based on a fantastic book by Phillip Reeve, set way into the future in a world that has started again after a 60 Minute War wiped out most of it. Cities move around devouring smaller towns and Hester, a strong, independent young woman is trying to catch up with London in time to face an old enemy.
Click on the image below to see the trailer:
Ken is the Visual Effects Supervisor for this film – his team of artists had to first of all come up with some ideas about how London should look in this film and then once approved, computer programmers then had to use these ideas to build their version of London, quite literally from the ground up. Anything that might not be seen on the film could be reasonably plain, but otherwise even the finest details had to be remembered, such as air conditioning units and guttering. Ken showed us the transformation from the plain, 2D drawings through to the full colour version. It was excellent to see how they had used local imagery in the film – for example Breaker Bay is where Shrike, a mechanised ex-human walks ashore.
Dennis Yoo is the Animation Supervisor for Mortal Engines and his expertise lies in the mechanising and animation of moving parts using computer coding and programming. Shrike. although having a human actor to provide his voice, is an entirely computer generated character, and yet on the screen he looks human, albeit a slightly alarming one in a no-longer-actually-alive kind of way! All of this movement is achieved by Dennis’s animators studying people down to their finest eyebrow movements in order to make the on-screen character realistic.
Another example of the animators’ work is in the movement of the predator cities and towns – how their parts move and sway with the undulation of the ground is incredible and when watching the film, hard to believe that this was all computer generated.
This is an incredible film and with this insight we are able to enjoy watching it even more. The film is out right now – if you watch it stay to the end and look out for Ken and Dennis on the credits! Mortal Engines is the first of a series of 4 books and all are available from our library. Best recommended to year 5/6 upwards.