Ghost in the Shell is the live-action Hollywood adaptation of the extremely famous Japanese media franchise of the same name and is certainly among the most anticipated movies of 2017. Rupert Sanders, whose only other feature film directorial credits are for “Snow White and the Huntsman” (2012), is the director of this upcoming film and Scarlett Johansson has been starred in this film that is based on the stellar 1995 animated film.
“Ghost in the Shell” is being praised for its spectacular visual effects, which incorporate physical effects along with digital CGI technologies, regardless of the “white-washing” controversy that surrounds the film. Luckily, Adam Savage of “MythBusters” was given a glimpse into the making of the film as has shared it with all of us. In order to check out the magic created in the Ghost of the Shell, Savage, accompanied by his “Tested” team, was invited to the Weta Workshop in Wellington, New Zealand. In case you are still unable to make the guess, 3D printing had a part to play.
The Weta workshop has played a part in several highly praised films, not least of all Peter Jackson adaptation of Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, so film and special effects team will already be at home with it. Other distinguished films include Mad Max: Fury Road, Edge of Tomorrow, and more recently, The BFG, The Great Wall, Power Rangers, and of course, Ghost in the Shell.
Co-founder of Weta workshop, Richard Taylor, allowed Savage to catch a unique sight into how some of Ghost in the Shell’s most iconic characters, the robot geishas, were created. Instead of taking the green-screen, CGI route to create them, Weta and Ghost in the Shell’s producers thought something physical, in the form of costumes and animatronic masks, would be more effective. And, we totally agree after viewing the results.
First of all, the Weta team 3D scanned the face of Rila Fukushima, a Japanese actress, and used it as the base for the masks in order to create the robot geishas which resemble real life porcelain dolls. As soon as the masks were digitally modeled, a combination of 3D printing, milling, and hand sculpting was deployed by the workshop to being the masks to life. While explaining, Taylor said that they used a 3D printed model, in case of the hair-piece, which they then molded and cast for the final product.
In case you are concerned about the comfortability of a 3D printed mask, you must know that the experts at Weta went to great lengths so they would be easily removable, breathable, secure, and comfortable for each actor. In order to make the masks bearable under the bright lights of the film studio, small fans and aeration slits were incorporated in the masks’ design.
An animatronic robot geisha head is among the most remarkable pieces showed by Savage and Taylor in their video. At first glance, the model seems to be rather unassuming, even though magnificent, and looks like the other geisha masks. On the other hand, at the push of a button, the face opens up to unveil an intricate mechanical interior, complete with actual rotating gears (as seen above). As you can imagine, it was a complex process to create the animatronics of the mask which involved a large team of artists, engineers, and technicians.
Furthermore, the technology deployed also had great significance. Taylor stated:
“We would have struggled to make this movie in the time we had to make it two years ago, because neither was the technology around nor was the chemistry within the technology around…the materials weren’t even in existence two years ago so we couldn’t have built it, but we can build it today because technology is iterating and growing.”
On March 30th, 2017, audiences can see the 3D printed robot geisha masks on the big screen in the film Ghost In The Shell