‘Warcraft’ Featurette Highlights the Technology Called “Haircraft”

Warcraft  will be crashing its way into theaters on June 10!  Duncan Jones  (Moon, Source Code)  cannot wait for fans to see the film he has been working on for over three years now.  Jones has made it very clear that this movie was a passion project of his.  He grew up playing tons and tons of hours of the hit video game franchise.  This film took so long to make due to the massive use of motion capture technology much in part to ILM’s contribution.  

For those unaware of the term ILM (Industrial Light and Magic), this company helped bring Lucas’s vision to life with his Star Wars franchise.  The visual effects and sound design were top notch and is still considered one of the best if not THE best in film history.  It didn’t take long for Jones to realize that his film would require a LOT of special effects, so he sought help from ILM.

A featurette was released to showcase how much time and effort went into the making of this film specifically on the visual effects.  To get a better understanding of how the process was completed, check out the recent video posted below:

What can we gauge from this featurette?


Director Duncan Jones mentions how important it was to utilize ILM, referring to them as the “Tyrannosaur of CG work.”  He touches on how big of a scale this movie truly is for breaking new ground on this technology. The featurette mentions that their toughest challenge on the set was bringing the seven-foot tall orcs to life.

Jeff White, who is the Visual Effects Supervisor of ILM, explains that the body-motion capture was pretty standard on what they have done before.  However according to White, they were able to break new ground when it came to the face of the orcs saying:

“The first shot that we delivered was a close-up on Durotan which was very suttle, and yet there were important moments there to bring that character to life.  It was really our way to show all of the film makers, that yes we can pull these orcs off.  And when they first saw it, they were floored.”

Bill Westenhofer also gave his thoughts on bringing the orcs specifically Durotan to life:

“You can see his eyes responding with just these little subtle movements. It felt alive and it was such an amazing experience.”

What is “Haircraft” technology?

“Haircraft” is a term that ILM gave to the software they created specifically for grooming hair.  According to White, “Hair is one of the most difficult things you can do in computer graphics.”  Yea, no kidding.  Besides having to do the wrinkles in the skin and clothing on the orcs, the hair has to be the most difficult.  You need to develop it strand by strand to make it look realistic.

A great example of this is Sully from  Monsters, Inc.  This popular Pixar character took a large chunk of time to animate, simply because his whole body is made of hair!  Since he’s also one of the main characters in the movie, the creators had to be extremely cautious when developing his movements as we know that hair moves as the character moves.  This had to be a long and excruciating process to get all the strands of hair to move properly and for all intense and purposes, look real.

Final Thoughts

I have to say that I am very impressed with the overall results we’ve been given thus far.  These comments made by the creators of the film bring a positive atmosphere to what will hopefully become a very successful video game to movie adaptation.  This film has all the right ingredients to make it quite a rewarding experience.  We only have just a few more weeks till its release date on June 10!

How excited are you for this high-budget video game to potential blockbuster movie?  Are you a fan of the Warcraft brand?  I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comment section below and please share!  



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