Shrek : Production Information

MOVIE POSTER "Shrek," is a comedy adventure about an ogre who is forced to become an unlikely hero to save a group of fairytale creatures. With a crew of over 275, "Shrek" has been in production at PDI / DreamWorks for over three years.

Film Statistics:

-The film consists of 31 sequences and 1,288 shots.

Research Facts:

-Early on when designing the look of the various environments in the film, the Art Directors toured Hearst Castle and the village of Stratford upon Avon for inspiration. They also visited Dordogne, France for inspiration into the look of Duloc.

-Art Director Douglas Rogers visited a magnolia plantation in Charleston, South Carolina to do research into the look of Shrek's swamp, where he was chased by an alligator.

-The effects department actually took mud showers of their own and even soaked a cookie in milk for varying times to study fluid dynamic simulation for the film.

-An expert on armor came in to show the animators a variety of armor that they could use as inspiration for both the "Rescue" sequence and the "Tournament" sequence. The animators tried on the armor, studied how they moved with the armor on, and also took turns flailing different swords.

Live action footage was shot for reference on the following:

-Live donkeys for motion reference.

-Milk being poured into a glass.

-Slapping a cookie onto a cookie sheet.

-Production assistants tossing flower petals.

-Beer being poured into mud.

Story Notes:

-Several of the story artists were so effective when pitching their scenes to the filmmakers that their voices made it into the final cut of the movie! Conrad Vernon, voiced the Gingerbread Man in the "Introduction to Farquaad" scene; Chris Miller voiced the Magic Mirror in that same scene; and Cody Cameron voiced one of the Three Little Pigs and Pinocchio.

Shrek (2001) - Movie PosterCreating The Characters / Character Design:

-All primary characters in the "Shrek" production were set up using PDI's proprietary software. Starting with a skeletal and joint structure, layers of muscles, fat pads and skin were attached to the underlying structure. Then, a final layer of clothing was added. Clothing was deformed and wrinkled by both PDI proprietary software and Maya clothing simulation software. Lastly, PDI proprietary software was incorporated in the dynamic hair, ears and Donkey's tail systems.

-Generic human characters combined old and newly developed character setup techniques. Each generic character's body is scaleable; the facial system supports multiple facial shapes in a single setup; and each setup also supports multiple hairstyles. In addition, each generic character has multiple clothing options. For example, clothing items such as hats, shirts, pants, and shoes can be mixed and matched according to casting requirements.

-The character designers went as far back as possible to the original designs for all the fairytale creatures, i.e. the Grimm Fairytales, etc

-The design of Shrek was similar to that of a Bulldog -- he had to be ugly and appealing at the same time.

-Over 50 sculpts were done of Shrek before they decided on his final look.

-Number of sculpted character models: 85 sculpts, 63 characters modeled. (To create crowd diversity, generics have multiple head and body types with many variations of each. )

-A unique volume shader (image information created not just on a surface but on a portion of 3D space) was developed for the buzzing wings on the Pixies and the Fairy Godmothers. It allowed for motion blurring and jittering of the wings, without the need for the character animators to animate them. Shaders for hair and skin bring Fiona to life. Each of the characters had a host of custom shaders for various materials such as Fiona's velvet dress, Farquaad's satin cape, Shrek's leather vest.

Shrek(2001)-A shader is a separate program or procedure called by the renderer to calculate information used in creating a final image. Often when people talk about shaders they are referring to material shaders which make models look like they are made of specific materials like leather, stone, denim and other fabrics, etc. These types of shaders function as an alternative to texture maps for making CG models look like something familiar from the real world. But whereas texture maps can be thought of as two-dimensional images "pasted" onto models, material shaders create textures through algorithmic manipulation of lighting calculations on a surface.

-The fur technology developed for Donkey was reused for eyebrows, beards, grass, moss, and even frayed threads on Shrek's tunic.

Stats On Shrek:

-There are approximately 180 animation controls in Shrek's face, creating expressions ranging from a raised eyebrow to a sneer to something as simple as a smile.

-There are 836 underlying "shapers" in Shrek's deformation system.

-There are 585 body animation controls in Shrek.

-Number of muscles in Shrek/Fiona/Farquaad: 90

Fairytale Reference Facts:

-There are 31 key fairytale/fantasy creatures that appear in "Shrek" with additional dwarves, elves, gnomes, rats, pixies, fairies, witches, wizards and merry men all making appearances throughout the film.

-Here is a list of all the key fairytale/fantasy creatures that appear in the movie:

The Three Bears
Three Blind Mice
The Three Little Pigs
The Big Bad Wolf
Peter Pan
Snow White
The Seven Dwarfs
The Pied Piper
Three Fairy Godmothers
The Gingerbread Man
The Old Woman in the Shoe
Robin Hood
Little John

-Over 1000 fantasy characters invade Shrek's swamp at the beginning of the film.

Production Design / Stats On Creating The Environments:

-There are 36 unique locations in "Shrek," more than any other computer-animated film. Some examples include the Swamp, Shrek's house, the Forest, tournament grounds, torture chamber, dragon's keep, and a Dulocian Cathedral.

-1,250 props and environments were created in the computer for the film.

-PDI developed a digital greenhouse for the film to create 508 shots with trees. In those shots, there are 28,186 trees with 3 billion leaves. If you tied those leaves end to end, you could construct a leaf-ribbon that would extend in length 4 times the distance from the earth to the moon.

Dialogue Notes:

-In addition to the voice of Shrek, Mike Myers also voices one of the 3 Blind Mice.

-Mike Myers actually read opposite his wife Robin when recording his lines for the climactic love scene at the end of the movie.

-Cameron Diaz became very physical when recording her kung fu moves ala Matrix, the (1999) for her scene with Robin Hood & his Merry Men and even broke out into Cantonese at times since she had completed Kung Fu training during the production of Charlie's Angels (2000). "

-The challenge with John Lithgow was how to figure out how to fit his big, theatrical, dynamic voice into the diminutive, 4 foot frame of Lord Farquaad. The recording mixers would constantly have to adjust the sound during his recordings to keep track of his booming voice.

-Assistant Film Editor Chris Knights was such a hit when recording scratch dialogue for the film, that they kept him on as the voice of Thelonius and as one of the voices of the Three Blind Mice in the final cut of the film!

Creating Crowd Systems / Crowd Statistics:

-About 200 animator-created cycles are in the crowd system. Animators create cycles of motion (walk cycles, run cycles, fighting cycles, cheering cycles, etc. ) which are then stored in a library and available for the crowd system to use. This library of possible motion also contains many more cycles that are procedurally generated variations of the animator-created cycles.

-93 hand-animated cycles were propagated over 450 characters which produced 2,000 procedural variations in the crowds.

-The stands in the tournament scene hold about 1,000 spectators.

-The cathedral holds over 1,500 people in "The Wedding" sequence.

-A typical crowd shot in the tournament generates over 45 million polygons that need to be rendered for each frame.

-A polygon is either triangular or quadrilateral in shape. Thousands of these primitive shapes are connected together to form the surfaces and curves within the characters and environments of "Shrek. "

-There are six primary characters and over 100 unique secondary characters.

-With swappable varieties of heads, bodies, hairstyles, and outfits, there are over 34,000 permutations of the generic human characters.

-PDI's character system simulates an anatomically "correct" combination of skin + muscles + fat + bones.

-Major advancements were made in the areas of facial systems, clothing, wrinkles, and hair.

-A generic character in a medium shot is comprised of: 60,406 polygons in his body/head/clothing; 767,700 polygons in his fur and hair; 828,106 total polygons.

-A generic character from "Shrek" has 8 times as many polygons as a generic worker from "Antz. "

Fluid Simulation:

-PDI's Academy Award®-winning Fluid Animation System (FLU) was used to animate water, milk, beer, mud, lava, and even to simulate the movement of leaves blown by the wind.

Lighting Facts:

-The lighting group consulted with a Hollywood makeup artist named Patty York to learn different techniques for creating accents and realistic effects for Fiona's face.