Disney’s new live-action film The Jungle Book is taking computer-generated (CG) animals to new furry, scaly, toothy heights—and the results are nothing short of stunning.
According to Disney, more than 70 CG animal species were created from scratch for the film, including the iconic characters who take center stage—Baloo, Bagheera, Kaa, Shere Khan, and Mowgli’s wolf family—plus hundreds of primates, including King Louie and the Bandar-log, the army of monkeys populating the Seeonee jungle.
As director Jon Favreau joked, “It’s very hard to teach an animal to talk from what I understand. So this seemed like a good solution. It’s also better for the animals not to be on set, and it’s better for the tigers. I’m a city boy, so I thought CG animals would be the way to go.”
Technicians created new programs to simulate muscles, skin, and fur, while artists strived to include each animal’s unique emotional language. The filmmakers researched animals by looking at videos and pictures, reading books, consulting with animal experts, and even acting out the animals’ movements. Disney also said that a team of more than 800 computer graphics artists spent more than a year on the project. They thought of everything, right down to making sure that the animals’ bodies threw the correct shadows.
Executive producer Brigham Taylor told PETA U.S., “In creating Kipling’s world digitally we were able to infuse each creature with the necessary personality and create a world more immersive and inviting than we ever could have achieved [using live animals].”
This movie must be seen to be believed.