Chappie was a Neill Blomkamp movie through and through.

It was a low budget, raw looking si-fi movie, set and shot in Johannesburg, starting Sharlto Copley.

The character Chappie is police droid that is given a conscious by his developer. He was played on set by Copley, but we completely replaced Copley in post and created a fully CGI version of Chappie.

Image Engine spent a long time building the Chappie asset, and it took a while before we started to get renders to work with in comp but the wait was worth it. The CGI renders on Chappie were some of the best renders I’ve ever worked with. They looked amazing straight from lighting. We hardly had to do anything to them in comp. I still use it as a benchmark that I judge an other CG renders too.

This meant that all we had to concentrate on was the integration. There was lots of time spend working on edges, and we did lots of paint work in comp.

There we some more interesting sections. I had to create the shots where Chappie painted a car. I had to come up with a technique for revealing the paint strokes on the canvas across the sequence. I had to take photos of the props to use in the shot and then rotoscoped every brush stroke on the painting and animated their appearance.

We also had fun adding dirt, dust and explosion elements to the final fight sequence with the Moose, an tank like CG object.

Creatively it wasn’t the most exciting project as a compositor, but the fact that we didn’t do too much overtime, and I managed to final 62 shots on the project made up for it.

Here is a reel of almost every shot I did for the movie:

Chappie Reel from Conrad Olson on Vimeo.