THE PROGRESSION OF DESIGN WITH VISIONARY OSCAR DOUG CHIANG
Joining ILM has been a rewarding experience for Chiang. “I have always viewed the design process as a seamless workflow. ILM was different in that we were doing post-production design, so the art department was specifically for that. The films I worked on, like Ghost, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Forrest Gump, were all post-production designs. While I was at ILM it started to evolve where we could participate in the pre-production design. It wasn’t until I started working with George Lucas when he hired me to lead the prequels art department in 1995 that I realized this was the way George had been doing since the beginning. debut with Joe Johnston and Ralph McQuarrie.
“I was one of the first people on board while George wrote Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace», Continues Tchang. “I had learned Joe Johnston and Ralph McQuarrie, and I learned their style. When he told me that we were going to lay the foundation for all of these designs, and that aesthetically it was going to be different, it bowled me over because I felt like I was studying for the wrong test. My goal was to give him the show he wanted without any of the practical limitations. There were enough smart people at ILM like John Knoll to understand all of this. It was the construction and design of the world in its purest form. I remembered it terrifying ILM because they hadn’t developed anything of this magnitude. The phantom menace was the biggest movie at the time at ILM with miniature sets. There was a huge digital component, but it was mostly for the characters.
In 2000, Chiang established DC Studios and produced several animated shorts based on the illustrated book Robota, co-created with Orson Scott Card, which takes place on the mysterious planet Orpheus and is inspired by his drawings of robots. He then co-founded Ice Blink Studios in 2004 and continued his collaboration with another innovative filmmaker, Robert Zemeckis, which won him an Oscar. “Death becomes her was fascinating because the story is about the potion of immortality, so our main characters can’t die. It was about asking, “How do you do it?” Real prosthetics can’t go any further, and we’ve never gotten realistic skin in computer graphics before. It was a huge risk to try to combine the two. Forrest Gump was all about subtle adjustments to the reality of the world to create powerful dramatic images. Bob movies can be a complete show like The Polar Express, and you have to rely on that sensitivity. Bob doesn’t have a particular cinematic style. He chooses what works best for his storytelling.