LONDONR – How can a lion, computer warthog, and computer-generated hyena look like you sing and talk at the same time?

That was the challenge that a visual effects team of more than 1,000 people faced as they worked on the 1994 Disney animated Disney The Lion King, aiming to bring the much-loved characters, Mufasa and Simba, to life. a stunning but fake savanna backdrop.

Last year’s second biggest movie, with $ 1.6 billion global grossing, according to boxing firm Box Office Mojo, “The Lion King” received a long-awaited Oscar nomination Monday for its images digital “real picture” that makes it look like a wildlife documentary.


A mammoth team worked on the Jon Favreau-directed film, produced with computer animation, virtual reality, gaming technology and live-action methods. The MPC visual effects company owned by technology and entertainment company Technicolor and studios across the globe was tasked with making the Simba lion cub’s tale look like it was actually filmed with real animals in Africa. .

“One of the biggest things you are responsible for is breathing life into these characters … They have to behave real and they have to look real,” Adam Valdez, MPC visual effects supervisor who spent two years and a half working on “The Lion King,” he told Reuters in London.

“And if the two things are more and more intertwined, it ruins the movie.”

Valdez, who won an Oscar for Favreau’s Disney reprint of “The Book of the Jungle,” traveled to Kenya for studies.

“We do a lot of mind-boggling research on how real animals move, how their muscles and skin behave … and then on the computer, we recreate all these things,” he said, adding that the MPC team first created the characters and landscape.

“An artist, as an animator, has to sit down and actually deliver that eye, the living hand of that face in order to represent every little subtle nuance.”

Work on the film took place in London, Bangalore and Los Angeles, where a headset Favreau and his team worked on a virtual reality series, using gaming technology to direct scenes.

“The game … we wrote was for people walking across the African Savannah,” Valdez said.

“Instead of holding a game gun, they’re holding a camera, and they’re able to point the camera at the things they want to film and we’re recording all that information on the computer.”

Valdez said every shot had been carefully recreated to make it as realistic as possible.

The team used caste recordings, which included Beyonce and Donald Glover, expressing their roles for scenes with dialogue.

“We were very subtle with it … adjustdo small adjustment to say how many eyes open or close, how many whites look in or out of irritation, they all have an emotional meaning for us as humans,” Valdez said.

“But if … you push it, you catch the bond of photographic realism of the picture you see with behavior that is of a different kind … It was a very complicated thing.” (Reporting by Sarah Mills; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Diane Craft)