Role: Previsualization Lead
One would think that after working at ILM I would be prepared for just about anything. My experience being a previs artist was pretty diverse, but I rapidly found the folks at Digital Domain did things their own unique way. DD has always been known as a bit of frat house with its pirate flags flying. From what I can tell, that's tempored a bit, but their spirit of pushing the envelope remains. That was no exception for I,Robot.
Despite having experience, my level of involvement on I,Robot was somewhat limited despite being a lead. I needed to learn a new pipeline and get to know the lay of the land. If anything this film was to be a bit of a testing ground for new capabilities and procedures at the company. Digital Domain had been experimenting with previs in its commercial department for years, but now they wanted to see if the same success could be replicated in its film division. This proved to be quite the political challenge. Back in 2003, previs wasn't as mature as it is now so everyone had their opinions as to how it should be done.
The task I was assigned to was the Viki-Level sequence. This was the climax of the movie which involved hundreds of robots attempting to break into the USR laboratories. My crew was small. There was about four or five of us with none of them specifically trained to do previs. Yet despite that, we did a great first pass on this sequence thanks to their amazing skills as animators. Once we completed our version, it was later moved on to two other dedicated previs companies for further refinement and revisions up in Canada.