Part 2 - EXCLUSIVE: ROBOCOP Designers Eddie Yang, Vitaly Bulgarov & Fausto De Martini Share Information & Artwork
Conceptual designers Eddie Yang, Fausto De Martini and Vitaly Bulgarov share information and artwork for Jose Padilha's RoboCop reboot. Including designs for RoboCop's new armor, weapons, props, and even ED-209. Click here for "Part 1."
Eddie Yang (left), Fausto De Martini (center) and Vitaly Bulgarov (right)
How much pressure did you feel while redesigning the iconic RoboCop costume?
Eddie Yang: At first it was fun and I never really thought about any pressure. I always thought they were going to bring in some other guys to help! I just kept waiting for them to show up! I feel the best designs come about when you have many talented people collaborating and pushing each other and on something as iconic as this I thought it would be a whole army of guys! When Vitaly and Fausto showed up, I thought this is awesome these guys are the shit!
Fausto De Martini: Wow Eddie, that means a lot coming from you! I felt extremely honored to be involved in this project and when I heard I would be touching the classic design I was pretty blown away! I use to draw the original RoboCop suit as a kid on a daily basis. I felt a commitment to do the best job possible since I have so much respect for what RoboCop means to me and a legion of fans. I came in to the project to help finalize the design of the classic suit. Eddie and his team did a terrific job during the exploration. They came up with a version Jose and Martin responded well to. I took that as a base to flesh out in detail the whole design of the suit.
Designs For RoboCop's Weapons:
Vitaly Bulgarov: In the film Robocop is equipped with a Taser gun and a heavy caliber sub-machine gun with the buttstock mounted on the forearm for extra stability. I had a chance to work on both early versions and the final designs of the weapons. One of the idea that was also fun to explore was the Robocop’s arm transformed in-to machine gun. (click here for more images)
RoboCop’s Bike Designs
Vitaly Bulgarov: Another really cool design opportunity was presented in RoboCop’s motorcycle. Paul Ozzimo did the initial design and the elements that were well received by Jose and Martin served also as the inspiration for the work I was doing later. One of the main ideas for the bike was the ability of the Robocop to lock-in and integrate with the bike when riding. Because of that the arm rests and the leg rests were equipped with the magnet ports. Both the arm rests and the leg rests were also meant to be retractable. Fausto De Martini also did additional work on the bike during the final stage when it was being built. The images below show some of the bike designs I did before that.
(click here for more images)
Could you tell us how 3-D printers were utilized during the design process?
Eddie Yang: During the production I had a few different meetings with Martin and the producers about how the suit construction could be done since I was involved with creating the first Iron Man suit at the Stan Winston Studio. It was the first fully printed specialty suit created for film at that time and SWS did an incredible job making it! Today it is pretty much standard to create parts for specialty costume using 3d printing.
The process is pretty simple and involved taking a 3D model build over an actor, and then breaking it down into various parts to be printed. These parts would then be finished, molded, cast out of fiberglass, painted, and then assembled on to an undersuit. Because Vitaly, Fausto, and I design in 3D there was less work involved in producing the final print models, which were then handed over to Legacy Studio (formerly Stan Winston Studio) for the print and fabrication.
The production and I talked about starting up a custom production studio just for the suit and parts of ED-209. But I think they felt it would be too costly. When this was nixed I told them Legacy was pretty much the only game in town that could do this right!
Fausto De Martini: The fact I do my design in 3D helped the transition to the print phase. After I was able to flesh out most of the design, I was asked to start matching the suit to the "Body Stunt" actor. It was interesting that it didn't require much push and pull since the suit had a realistic proportion from the get-go. The only part that was challenging was the waist and joints, which were made to feel very skinny to indicate RoboCop had completely raw mechanics in those areas. They ended up replacing those parts with CG to keep RoboCop true to the concepts. After I modified the suit to the stunt actor and got all the designs approved I passed the geometry onto Legacy. They did an amazing job using the design I did to build the final suit.
Vitaly Bulgarov: Like with the Robocop suit, with ED-209 my task was to design a sleeker more modern and aggressive looking version of the original design that would has less hardware exposed and more automotive like shapes of the armor plates. During the preliminary design stage Ed Natividad had created a concept that served as an inspiration to my early ED209 work. During the process the design evolved and has eventually become lower, sharper and wider with more aggressive stance. I did also two versions for the paintjob: the desert edition and more tactical urban black. (click here for more images)
Blood Filtering Machine Designs:
Vitaly Bulgarov: The blood filtering machine was one of my favorite props to design! Dave Scott and Martin Whist came up with the overall layout idea for where the input/output ports, cables and other hardware should be located and I had designed the final packaging of the elements, the outer shells surfacing as well as detail work in-to something that had to look like an aesthetically pleasing product that has both a clean medical and at the same time commercial/corporate appeal. In the film it was placed at an angle and integrated with Robocop's awesome table/bed designed by Fausto De Martini (click here for full set)
Production experienced a few controversies. One involved leaked concept art of the new RoboCop designs apparently from artist Mike Jensen. Could you shed some light on that matter?
Eddie Yang: Yes, Mike is an incredibly talented 3D artist and I hired him to help during the initial phase of the designs. I guess some photos of his were leaked, not sure how as he signed a non-disclosure agreement and I didn’t think he would post anything on purpose. The photos became viral and ended up becoming the accompanying photo to any news update about the film. This prompted MGM to release a statement about Mike’s involvement with the film. MGM didn’t know he was on my team thus the confusion.
I had a discussion with Mike about the photos and he said he never released them publicly so I’m not sure what happened there.
Vitaly Bulgarov: Even though it’s such a tiny object that you can barely see it in the movie it was a really fun little prop to design! :) (click here for more images)
Last time we spoke, you revealed that you and Steve Wang had begun work on an exciting new project, Outpost 37. Could you give us an update?
Eddie Yang: Yes! I just saw the final cut last night and it was phenomenal! Couldn’t be more happy! They are currently presenting it to North American distributors for theatrical release so we may see it in theaters at some point this year.
What do you have coming up in the future?
Eddie Yang: We are currently working on a big project for Riot Games that will be unveiled later in the year. Watch our website and facebook for updates!
In RoboCop, the year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Their drones are winning American wars around the globe and now they want to bring this technology to the home front. Alex Murphy (Kinnaman) is a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit. After he is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp utilizes their remarkable science of robotics to save Alex's life. He returns to the streets of his beloved city with amazing new abilities, but with issues a regular man has never had to face before.
RoboCop will be directed by Jose Padilha and star Joel Kinnaman (The Killing) in the lead role of Alex Murphy/Robocop. The film also stars: Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Kenneth Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel and Abbie Cornish. It's now playing at your local theater.
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