has been a great deal of discussion about the proposed CGI
Captain Scarlet sequel - a debate that has been clouded by
the appearance of a seemingly unauthorised sequence circulating
on the web. Keri Allan and Anthony Clark report...
The mystery clip was actually created at the request of Carlton,
the show's copyright holder. The company approached a number
of computer animation facilities asking each one to pitch
for a two minute demo as a precursor to a possible pilot.
of the companies, Audiomotion, had previously worked with
games publisher SCi to create images for its Thunderbirds
PC CD-ROM so its staff were already well versed in converting
puppets to CGI.
had work extensively on the International Rescue vehicles,
"improving" on the original designs while maintaining their
overall feel. "We made them look more realistic," said Terry
Hylton, creative director of Audiomotion. "We used lots of
texturing to make them look lived in, believable." Thunderbird
2 - the most popular design - basically stayed the same. Other
craft and vehicles, such as Thunderbird 4, were given a more
approach from Carlton came at the perfect time as Audiomotion
was reaching the end of a major project. And although the
schedule for the Scarlet pilot was tight - just one month
- the team enjoyed working on it. "It was fun and it was also
something no one had done before," said Hylton.
designers came together with some new ideas, partly influenced
by Japanese animation, and incorporated them into the look
of the characters while trying to keep with the style of the
original show. The team created a selection of updated costumes
and spent a great deal of effort on designing realistic faces
that kept close to the original puppets.
Picture Company (MPC), was also approached, this time directly
by Gerry Anderson, who worked closely with the company on
a five minute pilot. Once again the deadline was tight - just
nine weeks. Gerry told MPC that he wanted the CGI version
to have a retro feel. He also tressed that it was important
to make the faces look like the originals. To do this 10"
maquette heads were sculpted and sent over to America for
still not clear if a CGI version of Captain Scarlet will go
into production but there is one future project that remains
close to Gerry's heart. The rights to remake Thunderbirds
revert to Carlton later this year, and that when this happens
he'll be knocking on the door trying to persuade the company's
senior execs to give him the money to make new CGI episodes.
And unlike previous attempts at relaunching the show, Anderson
claims that this time he'll stay 100% faithful to the original
concept although there's one change he's promised - there
will be a greater role for his female characters to reflect
changed attitudes towards women.