"Posts For Terminator"

TERMINATOR SALVATION - T-600 Blown Apart Puppet Rehearsal

TERMINATOR SALVATION - T-600 Blown Apart Puppet Rehearsal

NEW TERMINATORS FOR A NEW TERMINATOR - THE T-600

By Matt Winston

TERMINATOR SALVATION introduced a host of new Terminator models, from aquatic hydrobots to hulking T-600s, and director McG was eager to realize them using the same blend of Practical Effects and CGI that had given the cyborg assassins of the first three films their gritty, tactile realism.

Pictured above: (Left) John Rosengrant and Christian Bale wrestle a Hydrobot puppet. (Right) New Terminators for a new Terminator film.

T-800's HULKING PREDECESSOR

In designing the T-600's the idea was to construct a much more primitive looking character than the sleek T-800, T-1000 and T-X from the earlier films. Comparing Terminator evolution to human evolution, John Rosengrant, co-founder of Legacy Effects and 25-year Stan Winston Studio supervisor, said, "The T-600 was kind of the neanderthal version" of the T-800.

Pictured above: T-600 designs by Scott Patton. (Left) Early T-600 rendering to get the feel of the character. (Right) Completed head design.

MIXING THE OLD AND THE NEW

To give life to the T-600's the Stan Winston Studio crew, led by Rosengrant, relied on a combination of techniques, both old and new. "The [blown apart T-600] puppet was created as a rod puppet with RC head movement and jaw," said Rosengrant. "Where there were advancements with this puppet came really from new materials that were stronger and lighter. [The T-600's] hands were articulated cable-controlled hands. That technology hasn't really changed that much other than the look of it. But it's still very effective."

Pictured above: (Left) John Cherevka details damaged T-600 heads. (Right) David Merritt puppeteers the T-600's cable-controlled hand.

CHOREOGRAPHING A KILLER PERFORMANCE

But all the work that went into creating these new Terminators would have meant nothing if they weren't able to perform, on set, with the clock ticking and a brutal production schedule to keep up with. "We started rehearsing with Christian Bale's stunt double so that we would get this down before we worked with Christian on the day," recalled Rosengrant. "Like any puppet performance it becomes a matter of choreography and everybody getting very familiar with their role and what they have to add into it to bring it to life."

Pictured above: T-600 puppet rehearsal with Christian Bale's stunt double. (Right) Richard Landon, sitting, puppeteers the T-600's RC controlled jaw.

HE'LL BE BACK

Their preparation paid off, resulting in one of TERMINATOR SALVATION's most memorable sequences. "John Connor (Christian Bale) thinks he's killed [the T-600]," recounted Rosengrant. "He empties the clip into it and then pushes it off of him and then, in typical Terminator fashion, it comes back at him."

Pictured above: John Connor (Christian Bale) struggles with a tenacious T-600 puppet.

MAINTAINING A LIVE ACTION/CGI BLEND

"When we were first brought in by McG to work on TERMINATOR SALVATION, he was really a proponent of getting the live action," said Rosengrant. "He wanted to tie in his movie with the previous three so that there was a seamless connection to the past."

-Matt Winston

 

More from John Rosengrant

 

More TERMINATOR STUFF from Stan Winston School

Facebook TOP TEN!

Facebook TOP TEN!

"Femme Heroes"

Femme Superheros by Pulse Photography takes first place in this week's winning Facebook image, with over 12.3k likes, 3.9k shares & 944 comments!

Enjoy the rest of the TOP 10 below,

Matt Winston


1. 

Choose YOUR favourite Superhero! 

Photo by Pulse Photography

Shared by Fãdy Mostafa II

12,328 Likes, 3,977 Shares, 944 Comments


2.

Who do you choose to heed???

Shared by the great Jon Carnesi

11,949 Likes, 6,493 Shares, 468 Comments


3.

Time for Tubby Bye Bye

Image: "Aliens Vs Teletubbies" by Icelanderus:
http://bit.ly/12ykgpR

Shared by Kratos

9,828 Likes, 4,989 Shares, 436 Comments


4.

What are you doing to make a difference?

Superhero Window Washers drop in at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

Shared from Adult Jokes 18+

9,456 Likes, 2,140 Shares, 96 Comments


5.

Hulk is from Krypton. Discuss. 

Then, save HALF on DVDs and Streams. www.stanwinstonschool.com

Shared by Andres-i Shufflin

8,685 Likes, 2,182 Shares, 365 Comments

 

6.

'Half Offfffffff.'

TWO DAYS LEFT! CLICK HERE to save HALF on Monster Making: 
www.stanwinstonschool.com/videos

Unearthed by Comikaze Expo

7,497 Likes, 3,425 Shares, 138 Comments


7.

Finish the caption: "When the cat's away..."

Art by Jenny Parks Illustration.
More here: http://jennyparks.deviantart.com/

Shared by Abdullah Ayub.

6,635 Likes, 3,753 Shares, 282 Comments


8.

"Welcome to my neighborhood, Spider-Man!
Would you be my... could you be my... ________?" 

Art by Patricio Clarey

5,476 Likes, 915 Shares, 111 Comments

 
9.

Take advantage of a long holiday weekend...

Shared by: Abdullah Ayub

5,433 Likes, 1,268 Shares, 108 Comments


10.

Rise of The Arachnids

Art by Mark Rain (Azrainman) http://bit.ly/11nc1mN
With a BIG uncredited assist from Jean-Paul Fiction who made the spider ship. https://www.facebook.com/jean.fiction

Shared by Bing Chen

5,025 Likes, 923 Shares, 60 Comments

 

 

TERMINATOR 3 Behind-the-Scenes - The First Terminators

TERMINATOR 3 Behind-the-Scenes - The First Terminators

THE FIRST TERMINATORS

The climax of the film, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, takes place at Cyber Research Systems, which has produced not only the Skynet defense system — which is due to launch multiple nuclear attacks within hours — but also robotic T-1 tanks that turn on their human creators.

Pictured above: Stan Winston Studio concept art for the T-1's by Aaron Sims.

HYDRAULICALLY POWERED "REAL" ROBOTS

Stan Winston Studio built five T-1s for the sequence at CRS headquarters, two of which were fully functional, hydraulic robots. “These T-1s were real robots,” said 25-year Stan Winston Studio supervisor and co-founder of Legacy Effects, John Rosengrant. “They were hydraulically powered machines that could spin around and drive and do all kinds of things.”

Pictured above: Intimidation tactics - a front line of T-1 terminators prepare for action.

LINKING THE OLD AND THE NEW

Concept artist, Aaron Sims, employed the same methodology for the T-1 that he had used for the T-X, first creating a 3D digital model that was based on a design from the T3 art department, headed by production designer Jeff Mann. Incorporated in the design were tank tracks, as well as neck pistons and rods that were similar to the original Terminator endoskeleton, to create a visual link between these prototypes and their future cousins.

Pictured above: The Stan Winston Studio mechanical team runs the hero animatronic T-1 tank through its paces, learning its movement vocabulary.

“We also gave it red lights for eyes,” said Sims, “and a chrome look — both of which were similar to the original Terminator.” Computer-milled foam parts were then molded and reproduced in resin. Final parts were made of fiberglass over steel and aluminum with a brushed metal finish.

Pictured above: Treads adapted to the T-1 from commercial treads purchased from Mattracks in Karlstad, Minnesota.

TANK TRACKS FOR A T-1

The final assembled T-1s stood seven feet tall, weighed 3,500 pounds, and featured articulated heads and arms, and turning turrets. The T-1s could travel seven miles per hour on their tank tracks, which were procured from an outside vendor. “Because of my interest in military history and armored tanks,” Rosengrant commented, “I knew that we weren’t going to be able to make the tracks on the T-1 in the time we had. So Alan Scott and I found this company called Mattracks, which makes conversions for pick-up trucks. Guys up in Minnesota or other cold parts of the country will pull their wheels off and put these tracks on their trucks, so that they can drive in deep snow. Tim Nordella figured out how to interface between these pre-fab tracks and the T-1. When it was all put together, the T-1 was a real, functioning robot.”

Pictured above: Stan Winston channels the T-1 on the set of TERMINATOR 3: Rise of the Machines.

 

Pictured above: Arnold Schwarzenegger battles his primitive brethren, the T-1, in TERMINATOR 3: Rise of the Machines.

REAL ROBOTS

“In Terminator,” Winston observed, “we pretended to build robots, but actually used stop-motion animation and puppetry and bits of animatronics. In Terminator 2, we advanced to digital animation and a full-standing animatronic with a range of motion — but we were still pretending to build robots. In Terminator 3, we actually built robots.”

-Jody Duncan

Excerpted from THE WINSTON EFFECT: THE ART AND HISTORY OF STAN WINSTON STUDIO

More TERMINATOR STUFF from Stan Winston School

Terminator Salvation Behind-the-Scenes: T-600 Puppet Test

Terminator Salvation Behind-the-Scenes: T-600 Puppet Test

By Matt Winston

CLICK the player above to watch the "TERMINATOR SALVATION - T-600 Puppet Test" video.

KEEPING IT REAL

For TERMINATOR SALVATION, the fourth installment in the Terminator franchise, director McG was determined to strike the same balance between Practical FX and Visual Effects that had been so effective in bringing to life the pantheon of iconic cyborg assassins from the first three films.

ACTING IS REACTING

Whenever possible, McG insisted on having real robots on the set. "I don’t like actors emoting to tennis balls on C-stands," he said. "It's a lot better when they can respond to what's going on." This sentiment was echoed by the film's female lead, Moon Bloodgood, who plays resistance fighter Blair Williams. "It's a tremendous advantage for the performances and for the audience when something is real," she said.

Pictured above: John Connor (Christian Bale) sneaks up on a "real" T-600 sentry.

RETURNING TO THE ROBOT FACTORY

For the live-action Terminators, McG enlisted the artists and technical wizards at Stan Winston Studio, the same team who'd created the robotic killers in every Terminator film since the James Cameron original.

Pictured above: Stan Winston, Terminator Maker (1984-2008)

THE BIG, BAD T-600

John Rosengrant, 25-year SWS supervisor and co-founder of Legacy Effects, led the robot build, calling upon decades worth of Terminator know-how to execute McG's vision. Notably, the Stan Winston Studio team produced a full-size T-600, the hulking precursor to the iconic chrome T-800 model from the first three films. "He's bigger, more Neanderthal and bulky but still very lethal and menacing," said Rosengrant.

Pictured above: Brian Steele suited up to portray the hulking T-600 for certain shots.

7'4" KILLING MACHINE

Standing an imposing 7 feet, 4 inches tall, the T-600 was realized using both old school and cutting-edge techniques, including actor driven body suits, featuring Brian Steele (aka CreatureBoy), fully-articulated animatronic hero puppets, and a half-puppet for insert shots.

Pictured above: The T-600, partially skinned and skin-free.

A DEDICATION

For all the innovation and hard work the Stan Winston Studio team brought to TERMINATOR SALVATION, Stan never got to see the finished film. "He passed on during the making of our movie," said McG, "and [we've dedicated] this picture to the memory of Stan Winston who did such a great job honoring us all with his great creations."

-Matt Winston

To watch the Terminator Salvation Behind-the-Scenes T-600 video, simply CLICK the player at the top of the page.

 

More TERMINATOR STUFF from Stan Winston School

Terminator 2: Judgment Day's T-800 - An Interview with Stan Winston

Terminator 2: Judgment Day's T-800 - An Interview with Stan Winston

TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY – SECOND CHANCES

To watch the never-before-seen Terminator 2 "Making of" video, just click on the player above.

An interview with Stan Winston

Everything in Terminator 2 has been finessed. We've had a luxury in this movie. We have been able to do what we normally can never do in a movie. We have been able to take what we did the first time and do it better the second time.

Pictured above: Stan Winston with some of the stars of TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY

T-2’s T-800 ENDOSKELETON

It's much more technically advanced than the endoskeleton in the first movie. It's actually artistically advanced beyond the endoskeleton in the first movie. But these things are subtleties that only we as the artists and technicians will see.

Pictured above: TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY's new T-800s assembled in Stan Winston Studio.

Pictured above: Stan Winston adjusts the full-size T-800 puppet on the set of T2: JUDGMENT DAY.

Pictured above: A full-size T-800 puppet scans for Resistance fighters in TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY.

ON RE-CREATING LIFE

We try to re-create life… that is what our job is. We are duplicating life. We are duplicating Arnold…. We are making animatronic duplications of living things… with the use of servos to animatronically move faces, with the finest artists trying to duplicate skin texture and skin tones, with the finest technicians doing all of the mechanical work, with all of the original drawings and designs, with all of the sculpture, all of it, we are trying to duplicate life.

Pictured above: Arnold Schwarzenegger poses with one of his puppet doubles on the set of Terminator 2.

DESTROYING ARNOLD WITH MAKEUP FX & PUPPETS

We had to design the makeup effects that made Arnold, himself, the actor, appear to be the Terminator when a certain amount of flesh was removed from his face and certain appendages were ripped off of his body and the revealing of the robotic aspect underneath him… all of these things we learned from [The Terminator] to make them better, how to make them lay flatter to his face, how to make the illusion of the chrome underskull be more acceptable as a makeup, so it was not sitting out as far on his face as the makeup.

Pictured above: The "final stage" disintegration makeup on Arnold Schwarzenegger from T2.

Pictured above: SWS concept artist Mark "Crash" McCreery's rendering of a battle-damaged Arnold for T2.

Pictured above: The Terminator proves he's a robot in TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY.

ANIMATRONIC ARNOLDS

We had to duplicate Arnold completely from head-to-toe animatronically for certain shots… Although the puppets actually worked much better than they did in the first, the need is less because of how well the makeup worked. And because of that, Jim [Cameron] was able to use Arnold in the makeup much more extensively than in the first movie.

Pictured above: Schwarzenegger in clay. This bust became the basis for the Arnold puppets in T2.

Pictured above: The animatronic "hero" Arnold puppet head, just waiting for a body.

Pictured above: 4 heads are better than one. Especially when you're working with James Cameron.

THE MAGIC TRICK

When you see Arnold, and then puppet, and then Arnold, it's seamless. No one will know. That's what we need to do. And I don't believe that the audience, unless they're looking for it, will ever know when is it real or when is it Memorex?

-Stan Winston

Excerpted from our new TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY Behind the Scenes video. Just click on the player above to watch it now.

 

More T2 "Behind-the-Scenes" Stuff from SWSCA:

TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY: T-1000 Effects - Part One

TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY: Sarah's Nightmare & T-1000 Blade Arm Kill FX

TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY: T-1000 "Splash Head" Special Effects

 

Related Lessons:

METALLIC PAINTING TECHNIQUES: Robot Finishes

METALLIC PAINTING TECHNIQUES: Real Metal Effects

SILICONE PAINTING TECHNIQUES: Realistic Flesh Tones

ROBOT BRAINS: Animatronic Character Servo Control

Terminator 2: Judgment Day - T1000 Effects - Part 1

Terminator 2: Judgment Day - T1000 Effects - Part 1

CREATING A LIQUID METAL VILLAIN

Although Stan Winston Studio vastly improved upon the techniques used to create the T-800 endoskeleton effects in TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY, they would be breaking all new ground with the unprecedented T-1000 liquid metal effects.

“The endoskeletons, which had been the big deal on Terminator, were the least of our problems on Terminator 2,” said 25-year SWS supervisor and Co-Founder of Legacy Effects, John Rosengrant. “By far, the most challenging things we did for Terminator 2 were these physical effects involving the T-1000 character. We did a lot of in-camera magic tricks for that — splitting open bodies, finger blades, heads blowing open, bullet-hit wounds. Every day, there was something new and challenging to do.”

Pictured above: TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY's T-1000 (Robert Patrick)

THE "SPLASH HEAD" EFFECT

When John Connor and the Terminator break out Sarah Connor from the state hospital, the T-1000’s head is split apart at an elevator door by the Terminator’s point-blank gunfire.

Pictured above: The final "Splash Head" effect as it appears in TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY.

Stan Winston Studio built two articulated puppets for what was dubbed the ‘splash head’ effect. The first was employed for the shot of the head initially springing open, viewed from behind the T-1000. SWS artists sculpted Robert Patrick in clay, then split that clay sculpture down the middle and pulled it open, sculpting a ‘splash’ area into the middle of it. The foam rubber puppet was then made from molds of that sculpture.

Pictured above: SWS concept designer Mark "Crash" McCreery's rendering of the "Splash Head" effect.

Picture above: The clay "Splash Head" sculpture. The shine was achieved with several coats of Krylon Crystal Clear.

Pictured above: SWS artist Beth Hathaway seams & patches the foam "Splash Head" before painting.

The "Splash Head" puppet had a hinged fiberglass core that would spring open with the pulling of a single pin. The following frontal view of ‘splash head’ required a more detailed puppet that featured eye mechanisms working independently on either side of the T-1000’s split face. Pulley mechanisms pulled the sides of the head toward the middle to suggest the beginning of the healing effect, which was finished off with ILM’s computer graphics. A final ‘splash head’ makeup appliance was worn by Patrick’s double for shots of the T-1000 stumbling backwards as his head wound continues to heal.

Pictured above: The final "Splash Head" -- painted, mechanized and ready for action.

Pictured above: SWS supervisor John Rosengrant performs the "Splash Head" gag during the testing phase at Stan Winston Studio.

THE "CLEAVE MAN" EFFECT

TERMINATOR 2's steel mill finale featured some of the more complex liquid-metal-man gags created by Winston’s team, including the ‘cleave man’ suit worn by Robert Patrick, for shots of the T-1000 after the Terminator has sliced through his body with a steel rod.

Pictured above: The TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY finale featured multiple T-1000 effects, including the "Cleave Man" effect.

Originally, Winston had assumed that he would have to build an entire puppet for the effect; but when Cameron suggested that he would be willing to shoot it from a locked-off camera angle — rather than having the camera move around the T-1000 — Winston realized that a more simple approach would work. Christopher Swift sculpted a foam rubber body appliance that was vacumetalized in the center liquid metal splash area.

Pictured above: The "Cleave Man" sculpture, featuring a resin impregnated police uniform with a clay "splash" sculpted by key SWS artist Christopher Swift.

That appliance was then pressed firmly against Robert Patrick’s body to simulate his right shoulder and side, while the actor bent his real shoulder and side backwards. From one specific camera angle, Patrick appeared to be standing in a normal position.  When Schwarzenegger brought the steel rod down through the split line between Patrick’s body and the appliance, the device sprang open.

Pictured above: SWS artist Ian Stevenson wears the T-1000 "Cleave Man" suit for the initial test at Stan Winston Studio.

Pictured above: Ian Stevenson holds an extreme posture to sell the "Cleave Man" effect during testing at Stan Winston Studio.

THE "PRETZEL MAN" EFFECT

Winston’s crew built three final T-1000 puppets for the ‘pretzel man’ effect, which has the character blowing open after the Terminator has launched a grenade into his mid-section.

The first puppet was a spring-loaded replica of Robert Patrick in splayed-open position, which could be closed up through cables, then released to create the initial exploding action, while a pneumatic ram drove the head upward.

Pictured above: SWS concept designer Mark "Crash" McCreery's rendering of the T-1000 "Pretzel Man" effect.

Pictured above: Before executing the full-size puppet, Stan Winston Studio created a clay maquette of the "Pretzel Man" effect.

Picture above: SWS artists Andy Schoneberg and Christopher Swift sculpt the full-size "Pretzel Man" puppet.

A stage two puppet was built for shots of the cleaved T-1000 stumbling towards a pit of molten steel. The puppet was mounted onto gimbals at the ankles to create a teetering motion, while other body movements were achieved through rods, puppeteered by crewmembers stationed below the set. Jaw and eye movement in the head were radio-controlled, while spinning head action was cable-controlled.  A third non-articulated puppet had a thirty-five pound weight in its back to aid its fall into the molten steel, which was actually an underlit gelatinous concoction created by the special effects team.

Pictured above: A rough version of the "Pretzel Man" during rehearsal at Stan Winston Studio.

Pictured above: SWS mechanical designer Evan Brainard touches up the "Pretzel Man" puppet on the set of TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY

A DINOSAUR-SIZED CHALLENGE

Made on an incredibly tight schedule and featuring hundreds of character effects, TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY would go down in the Stan Winston Studio record books as one of its most difficult projects — ever. “Terminator 2 was all-encompassing, and often overwhelming,” John Rosengrant noted. “There were so many gags, so many effects, it felt like we were always playing catch-up. There were lots of puzzles to solve, and very little time to solve them. There was never a moment to just stop and enjoy the process. Because of the number of effects, the variety of effects, the lack of time, and the intensity, Terminator 2 was the most difficult show I’ve ever worked on.”

Looking back on the experience, Stan Winston, too, recalled the challenges of the show. But he also took satisfaction in the quality and number of effects he and his studio were able to achieve live, in-camera. “Everybody who looks at Terminator 2 now thinks that it was all done with CG — and that’s fine with me, as long as they watch the movie and enjoy it. But nearly all of those liquid-metal-man shots were done using our puppets. We created 300 separate effects for Terminator 2. It was the biggest show we’d ever done, up to that time.”

Dinosaur-sized, in fact.

-Jody Duncan

Excerpted from THE WINSTON EFFECT: THE ART AND HISTORY OF STAN WINSTON STUDIO

 

Terminator 2: Judgement Day - The NEW T-800s

Terminator 2: Judgement Day - The NEW T-800s

New TERMINATOR. New Robots.

While Terminator 2: Judgement Day is best known for introducing the iconic liquid metal T-1000 to the Terminator franchise, (Hollywood's first ever practical/digital "hybrid" character), James Cameron and Stan Winston were determined to improve upon the familiar T-800 as well. While designs were underway for the T-1000 effects, Stan Winston’s crew used molds from the original Terminator endoskeleton to build four new robots. Two of the full-size T-800s were non-articulated versions, and two were much more sophisticated ‘hero’ robots that could perform gross body movement, plus head and facial movement. “We really advanced our technology for the Terminator endoskeleton,” said Stan Winston. “This time, we had a full standing, completely animatronic robot.”

Picture above: Stan Winston adjusts the full-size T-800 animatronic puppet on the set of T2: JUDGEMENT DAY.

Picture above: The full-size 'hero' T-800 puppet on TERMINATOR 2: Judgement Day's "Future War" set.

THE IMPROVEMENTS - The finish

Other improvements included a more authentic chrome finish. “The first Terminator robot was made of a plastic material,” said 25-year SWS supervisor & Co-Founder of Legacy Effects, Shane Mahan, “like a lens cap that might have the look of chrome, but is really plastic. We’d run the robot pieces through an electrostatic process to apply a metallic finish; but, in shooting the first Terminator, we’d found that it chipped very easily. That was a heavy action film — as this one would be — and we were constantly bashing that thing through walls. So, by the end of shooting Terminator, the endoskeleton puppets were literally patched together with paint and tin foil. There were little patches all over them to hide where the metallic finish had flaked off. By the time we got to Terminator 2, we used an actual chroming process for making the endoskeleton. It was a heavier material, but it made the endoskeleton puppets more durable, and the metallic luster was much more authentic looking. It made a huge difference.”

Picture above: Freshly "metallized" Terminator hands await assembly at Stan Winston Studio.

Pictured above: The new T-800s assemble in Stan Winston Studio, unaware that they're being watched by the cast of "Monster Squad" to the left.

THE IMPROVEMENTS - The Weight

Although the chrome was a heavier material, the endoskeleton puppets created for Terminator 2 were lighter overall, because the more durable exterior structure obviated the need for solid steel supports internally. As a result, the full- body puppet weighed half the 100 pounds of the original. “The advance of materials and engineering allowed us to make something that was both lighter and more durable,” Mahan said. “We didn’t have to put steel and solid epoxy inside these things. Everything was laid up with more consideration for the weight. They still had enough weight to feel authentic; but they were more operational.” The weight of the endoskeleton puppets was of particular concern to Mahan and 25-year SWS supervisor and Co-Founder of Legacy Effects, John Rosengrant, both of whom would strap head-and-torso configurations of the puppets onto their backs to make them ambulatory in mid-range shots.

Pictured above: The 'hero' skull-crushing T-800 puppet comes together in the SWS mechanical shop.

Pictured above: One of the new T-800's strikes a less-than-menacing pose on the worskhop floor at SWS.

Picture above: Cameras roll on the "Future War" set of T2: Judgment Day.

THE ICONIC SKULL-CRUSH SHOT

Terminator 2 opens with the future war sequence, and the classic shot of an endoskeleton’s foot crushing a child’s skull. “That is one of the shots you always see from this movie,” said Winston. “The skull is crushed, the camera moves up to the endokeleton’s head, with its glowing eyes, and its head turning this way and that, looking for its next victim. That was a full- blown animatronic robot! And it was a big advancement over what we had done for the first Terminator.”

Pictured above: Red eyes of death. The 'hero' SWS T-800 puppet seeks out  human Resistance fighters.

A SYMPHONY OF PUPPETEERS

A team of twelve puppeteers standing off-camera operated a series of cable, rod and radio controls to create the endoskeleton performance in the opening shot — some on the crushing leg, some on a waist twist mechanism, some on the neck, some operating a hydraulic bicep action, and others on the various head and eye movements. “This tracking shot moves up to the child’s skull buried in the dirt,” explained Mahan, “and then the foot smashes down on top of it, and the camera pulls back to reveal the whole endoskeleton."

Pictured above: Everything comes together - puppet, explosions, lights - to create film history.

Pictured above: Stan Winston preps for another take to get it just right.

Pictured above: Shane Mahan stays just out of frame as he puppeteers on the set of TERMINATOR 2.

CREATING ILLUSION

Mahan continued, "So the illusion is that this endoskeleton has walked up and stepped on this skull. How it worked, though, was that the endoskeleton’s left leg was planted on the set, and its right leg was smashed down on the skull with a rod that was connected to the calf, which would then trigger-release so that the guy operating it could grab the rod and get out of shot before the camera moved up. It was a five or six-foot rod, so the puppeteer was pretty well out of frame anyway. He could just hoist it up, smash the leg down, pull it out, and step back out of the shot as the camera moved up.”

Pictured above: One of the twenty-eight crushable, brittle wax child skulls created by SWS for the shot.

ALWAYS MAKE EXTRA SKULLS

Shane Mahan and the crew had fashioned twenty-eight crushable, brittle wax child skulls for the shot, which they brought to the Terminator 2 set. “I thought twenty-eight skulls was overkill,” Mahan commented. “I thought that would be way more than enough. But we did take after take of that shot, and each time, some little thing would go wrong. It was very complicated, because there was a lot of stuff that all had to work together. There were explosions going off in the distance that had to time out just right. Plus, just getting the look of the leg crashing down on the skull, how it shattered, how the camera pulled up, how the endoskeleton looked when it pulled up, getting the rod out in time — all of that had to be coordinated. So here we were, out in some old steel yard in Fontana, shooting this huge scene at three o’clock in the morning, and I’m running out of skulls. We’re using them up in take after take, and I’m just praying that we get the shot before we run out of skulls. By take fifteen, I was thinking, ‘Okay, well, we’ve used a lot, but we’re going to get this shot in the next take or two.’ By take twenty, I was thinking: ‘God Almighty! I’ve only got eight left! What am I going to do if we run out?’ Of course, I didn’t mention to anybody that we were running out of skulls. I was just sweating it out secretly, wondering how I was going to break the news to Jim. Any other director, ten skulls would have been plenty. But with Jim, you make a lot more of everything — and it still isn’t enough. We had two skulls left in the box when we finally got it. I was so thankful.”

Pictured above: The iconic skull crush moment. T2's theme stated.

"It's Perfect!"

“Jim still wasn’t really happy, though,” SWS "Lifer" & Legacy Effects mechanical designer Richard Landon recalled. “He just said, ‘Well, I guess that’s the best I’m going to get,’ and he moved on. And we were so disheartened, thinking we’d failed him, and hoping against hope that he got something he could use. But then, when we came in the next day, Jim called me and John and Shane into his trailer, and he popped in a videotape of the shot from the night before, and he was all excited. ‘Watch this! It’s perfect!’ And it was like the fourth or fifth take! That’s the take that is in the movie.”

-Jody Duncan

Excerpted from THE WINSTON EFFECT: The Art & History of Stan Winston Studio

Monster Drawing Techniques - Stan Winston Creatures with Timothy Martin

Monster Drawing Techniques - Stan Winston Creatures with Timothy Martin

ALIENS, PREDATORS, TERMINATORS AND MORE

The Predator.  The Alien Queen.  The Terminator.  The Kathoga.  The Leviathan.  Pumpkinhead.  Edward Scissorhands.  The Raptor.  The aliens from Galaxy Quest, and Stan Winston himself.

Beside their obvious connection to the Stan Winston Studio, what else do all of these iconic figures have in common?

They’re all going to be part of the “Winston Chimera.”

A LESSON...

As I see it, this week’s lesson, Monster Drawing Techniques: Stan Winston Creatures, has two distinct paths for viewing.  The first, and what I see as the most important, path is the journey into the world of conceptual sketching.  This is where Timothy Martin, artist extraordinaire, shows you how to simply use a pencil and paper to create a concept directly from your imagination.

...AND AN HOMAGE

The second path is a journey into sheer fanboy awe.  Martin’s creation, as I mentioned before, is the “Winston Chimera.”  This is a remarkable creature that combines the attributes of many favorite Stan Winston creations, including Stan Himself!  Now, regardless which path starts you down this journey, you’re in for a treat either way.  This is one of the most visually creative segments to date.  And to think it’s all done with only a pencil and paper just shows that anyone can do this.

PENCIL RENDERING: AN ESSENTIAL FOUNDATION

In the industry, the art of conceptual sketching is one that sadly is being bypassed more and more.  With computer technology becoming more of the norm, the simple act of putting pencil to paper is sometimes looked at as an older medium.  The major factor for this thinking is time.  Sometimes in the “quick and hurry” atmosphere of the industry, and to an extent, the world, there just doesn’t seem to be the time for penciling out a concept.  This is a shame because working things out with a pencil and paper is sometimes where true sparks of inspiration exist.  Watching Tim Martin work, watching his fluidity, watching his style, his care, his attention to detail… these are things that sometimes just don’t translate to a “quick and hurry” style of computer rendering.  Watching him work not only teaches and instructs, but it also completely enthralls.

LESSON'S FROM THE PAST - STAN WINSTON'S MOST FAMOUS MONSTERS

Speaking of enthralling, in addition to watching Tim sketch many of your favorite Stan Winston creations, and seeing them blend in ways you never thought possible, there is another perk contained within this lesson.  And for me, it’s a big one.  During Tim’s instructions, numerous original concept sketches are shown of the Predator, the Alien Queen, the Terminator, et al.  It’s absolutely fascinating, and humbling, to see how these similar conceptual sketches became some of the most favorite creatures from all of filmdom.  It’s like a virtual museum of some of Stan Winston’s greatest creations, at their very first steps.  Plus, looking at them as pieces instead of wholes as we focus part-by-part, piece-by-piece, in this “Winston Chimera” is something that will truly open your eyes to the fact that there is always more than meets the eye.  It’s all on display here, and it’s truly something incredible.

LET'S PLAY A GAME

Now, before you start watching the lesson, try this game.  Look at the sketch of the “Winston Chimera” and see if you can figure out where each and every piece comes from.  I feel like I’m somewhat of a pro on all things Stan Winston, and I’ll tell you what, when Tim got to certain parts of his Chimera, and explained what the sketches were from, there were even a few pieces that surprised me.  I thought I knew each and every part of the Alien Queen until this video.  Goes to show that sometimes there are so many details that even the most trained eye can miss them.  And these are the details that all originate from the simple art of conceptual sketching.

ALL YOU NEED IS PENCIL & PAPER

So grab a pencil, grab a piece of paper, and join along.  When you’re done, see if you can come up with some kind of chimera of your own.

You’ll be inspired.  I guarantee it.

Click Here to check out the FREE LESSON PREVIEW now.

-Jeff Dixon

Terminator 2's T-1000: The "Splash Head" Effect

Terminator 2's T-1000: The "Splash Head" Effect

Terminator 2: Judgement Day...

MEET THE T-1000

Although they were all much improved and technologically far more advanced, the T-800 endoskeletons, Terminator makeups and Arnold puppets were challenges the Stan Winston Studio crew had met before. They would be breaking all new ground with the unprecedented T-1000 liquid metal effects. “The endoskeletons, which had been the big deal on Terminator, were the least of our problems on Terminator 2,” Stan Winston Studio supervisor and Legacy Effects co-founder John Rosengrant said. “By far, the most challenging things we did for Terminator 2 were these physical effects involving the T-1000 character. We did a lot of in-camera magic tricks for that — splitting open bodies, finger blades, heads blowing open, bullet-hit wounds. Every day, there was something new and challenging to do.”

THE T-1000 "SPLASH HEAD"

When the young John Connor and the Terminator break out Sarah from the state hospital, with the T- 1000 in pursuit, the T-1000’s head is split apart at an elevator door by the Terminator’s point-blank gunfire. Stan Winston Studio built two articulated puppets for what was dubbed the ‘splash head’ effect. The first was employed for the shot of the head initially springing open, viewed from behind the T-1000.

Pictured above: The final 'splash head' rendering by Mark "Crash" McCreery.

THE SCULPTURE

Studio artists sculpted Robert Patrick in clay, then split that clay sculpture down the middle and pulled it open, sculpting a ‘splash’ area into the middle of it.

Head #1

The foam rubber puppet was then made from molds of that sculpture. The puppet had a hinged fiberglass core that would spring open with the pulling of a single pin.


Pictured above: SWS artist Beth Hathaway patches a foam latex "splash head" in preparation for painting.

Head #2 - Practical mixed with Digital - An FX revolution is born.

Pictured above: Shannon Shea & Mike Spatola work on one of the 3 'splash heads" created by SWS for the effect.

THE FINAL EFFECT

The frontal view of ‘splash head’ (pictured above) required a more detailed puppet that featured eye mechanisms working independently on either side of the T-1000’s split face. Pulley mechanisms pulled the sides of the head toward the middle to suggest the beginning of the healing effect, which was finished off with ILM’s computer graphics.


-Jody Duncan

Excerpt from the book "The Winston Effect: The Art and History of Stan Winston Studio"

 

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