Beijing E-Town enterprise brings myth to life
"I thought baby Leizhenzi was created by computer-generated imagery, but later I found out that it was an 'animatronic special effects puppet shot in real life. This level of 'technological prowess' is incredible." remarked an audience member after watching the film.
In the recently released Creation of The GodsⅠ: Kingdom of Storms, Leizhenzi is undoubtedly one of the most highly anticipated characters, especially during his infancy. His unconventional design, rich facial expressions, and lively performance have piqued people's curiosity about the creation of movie props.
This exceptional achievement is the result of the meticulous work of Beijing E-Town enterprise Beijing Licheng Century Culture and Technology Co, in collaboration with Cinemorph SFX, a special effects studio.
Image designs of Leizhenzi [Photo/beijingetown.com.cn]
The original description of Leizhenzi in the source material depicts him as having "wings on both sides, an indigo face, and cinnabar hair. His eyes are fierce, and his canine teeth are always exposed outside his lips, with a long mouth like the Thunder God." This made Leizhenzi a challenging character to design for the film.
"On a technical level, we drew on some foreign design experiences and adopted the approach of sculpting, scanning, and rendering, along with in-depth research in mechanical structure design," said Li Xin, one of the members of the creative team and the founder of Licheng Technology.
Sketches of Leizhenzi [Photo/beijingetown.com.cn]
In the movie The GodsⅠ: Kingdom of Storms, the baby Leizhenzi is a real, movable mechanical model puppet. To make the puppet's size and weight as close to a real baby as possible, Li and his colleagues made numerous attempts and gradually completed the mechanical structure design of its limbs and facial expressions after shaping the image.
Skilled artisans installed thousands of complex electronic mechanical components in the small interior space of the baby's body to enable the head, arms, legs, eyebrows, cheeks, corners of the mouth, and lips to move freely. All of these movements were then captured in real life.
It is worth mentioning that when the baby blinks, you can even see a layer of nictitating membrane. This nictitating membrane is a natural "goggle" that birds have, protecting their eyes during flight. This attention to detail showcases the team's dedication to the project.