Behind the Scenes
FLUBBER - FX Credits - FX Review - Behind the Scenes - Stills
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FLUBBER, directed by Les Mayfield, is based on the Disney classic starring Fred MacMurray as the original ABSENT MINDED PROFESSOR, where a dopey yet loveable scientist invents a new substance, dubbed "Flubber"--a rubber-like polymer that absorbs and amplifies energy. For the original film, the effects team created the Flubber with traditional animation techniques. But for the 1997 version, Flubber's role would be greatly expanded and actually becomes a character in the film.
It was decided early on that Industrial Light & Magic and a host of other vendors would create fully computer generated Flubber; at no point in the film is the green goo represented as a physical, on-set effect. Every frame of Flubber in the film is a computer generated image.
ILM co-supervisor Tom Bertino works on one of ILM's Flubber shots.
The look of Flubber was one of the many tasks tackled early in the process, Bertino explained: "We took a field trip down to the drug store and picked up all sorts of things to look at--like hair gel products, toothpaste and gummi candy--things that we could study and use as reference. We even scanned a jar of hair gel to use as a texture map for some of our early character studies."
The animation ideas that were being thought up had to go through proper channels before being approved for the film--an interesting process in that describing how a handful of goo will perform isn't a simple task. "Selling the idea to the Disney executives and production staff was quite an interesting experience," Bertino said, "since I personally had to act out Flubber's part in walking everyone through the storyboards. Every time I was done, I was bathed in a warm sweat. One of the more memorable occasions was when I was at Disney acting out a storyboard, and wiggling my butt in front of the face of a Disney executive... I haven't decided if it was a high or low point in my career to this point," Bertino joked.
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