The success of Antz has spurred DreamWorks and Pacific Data Images (PDI) to announce production on a third collaboration, entitled Tusker. Antz director Brad Lewis will helm the adventure film about a herd of elephants on a perilous trek across Southeast Asia, and the villains of this feature will be human poachers who shoot to kill.
Antz supervising animator Rex Grignon has been recruited to head the animation team for PDI’s latest project. According to Grignon, getting photo-realistic characters is still the name of the CGI game: ‘I think the three big CG films that have made it to the big screen up to this point have been centered around characters and worlds that the computer can handle fairly well; insects and toys have hard, smooth surfaces, and the environments are fairly static.’ Antz and A Bug’s Life both easily handled the crowd scenes, but clothing, fur, clouds and hair have not yet been successfully pulled off on any scale, he says.
ILM created the most realistic computer-generated elephants to date for the film Jumanji. While ILM’s elephants appeared on the screen for only a matter of seconds, PDI’s pachyderms will have to withstand audience scrutiny for 90 minutes.