The Croods Croodaceous Creatures and Worlds

croodspic.jpg How do you create a prehistoric world even though you are not a palentologist? We found out when Rolemommy visited the DreamWorks Animation Campus for a sneak peek at the creation of The Croods which is in theaters March 22nd. Croodaceous Creatures and Worlds await…..
We sat down with Markus Manninen, the Visual Effects Supervisor to find out what his job entails and how they come up with some crazy world The Croods live in. Markus filled us in on the biggest part of his job, “I’m the guy who makes sure that Chris and Kirk get the visuals in the movie that they want to tell their story.”
Markus admits that they “geek out” a little to come up with some of the ideas, “The interesting thing with the New World for us, is it’s not just the New World that the family discovers — when they come out of their old habitat and this new world in front of them reels itself and they’re forced into it. But, for us, it was also a paradigm. We had to
figure out how to create this time between time that the story took place in. It was important for the story that this felt like earth because we wanted this to be a family, a regular family that were trying to survive and go through regular life in their context of actually survival and eating.”
There is so much that goes in to the visuals and it starts with one illustrator to set the tone, “We start with a beautiful illustrator who makes really interesting shapes. We’re really interested in finding ways to emulate this kind of fun and whimsical aspect of the world and translate that into something that The Croods could stand in front of. The art department then takes this to the next level, actually refining and in a way, making these rules in some ways, exploring what the world can see and we start painting them up and trying to make this into something tangible that we could imagine seeing on screen.” then they go to the producers to present, “Chris and Kirk throughout this whole process are giving us feedback about where are we going, what that they like, what can we do slightly differently. This type of prep is all the stuff we do before we’ve even decided on what kind of story we’re telling, we’re actually just exploring what the world will be like for the story that is going take place.”
The beautiful wonder of The Croods is that the movie starts in a drab, muted world and when they discover the new world it is bright and lush, “The first sequence where we go into the new world–we call it the Cazam! The Croods come down, they drop into this new world, and we started exploring what that would look like. Now, the original images that we had for this world were slightly more muted. But, by the time we had gotten to this point in our story process, we decided we really want to feel color come into this world so that, when the movie starts, we get to know the world that the family is in and the limitations in some ways visually of that and then this beautiful blossoming color world comes to life in front of them and shocks us as an audience because we’re going through the journey with them.”
Since The Croods is in 3D, Rolemommy was very curious to find out how the decisions are made to add the very small details? For example, the ashes were amazing during the fire scene and the flowers had such detail.
Markus explained, “Well, one of the things that Chris and Kirk had talked about from the beginning was that they really wanted the sense of us being there with the family. It was very important to them. So we started exploring the things that are going to make you feel like you’re there. For example, the atmosphere, we actually developed something called BIA, which is bugs in the air, as well. It makes you feel like you’re there, having things around you come from over your shoulder and so on.
Kirk DeMicco elaborated, “It kind of comes throughout. Everybody is keeping their eyes open for an opportunity for a little bit more of a 3D shot. Markus will come in and go, you know what, this is one of our 3D moments, let’s have those little puffballs, little white puffballs, let’s bring those way out. So, everybody’s kind of on the lookout for a way to make it more 3D.”
Since The Croods began production 5 years ago the use of 3D with the animation was so much better than I’ve seen recently. We were wondering if they develop some kind of technology, what is making this one so different? Just then we were surprise by the special guest who had snuck in to the room!
Jeffrey Katzenberg explained, “Maybe I can give you a better bigger sort of context to it, there is more 3D knowledge, experience and movie making here within the studio than any other place on the planet today. We’ve now made a dozen movies in 3D. If you look at it on the technology standpoint, those engineers who are perfecting the tools, the toolbox, it incrementally gets better each time. If you look at it on a creative basis, the experiences, the filmmakers, Yong Duk, who was the cinematographer on this movie, did Kung Fu Panda 2, which also had some pretty amazing breakthroughs in terms of the use of 3D.The fact that we’re able to just keep building on top of it, I think we could certainly argue that there’s no place in the world today where there’s as much expertise and creative and experience knowing how to apply 3D in a way that really makes it an immersive experience. The goal always has been, if we can transport you into that world and really make you feel as though you’re in the center of it, that’s the best use of it. So, it’s less about gimmicks and things that kind of poke out at the screen as opposed to immerse the audience in it.
You can see for yourself on March 22nd when The Croods comes to a theater near you. In the meantime, here is a look at their amazing new world and as Eep says “You really need to see this…”