Vitaly Bulgarov       Design
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Terminator 1 and Terminator 2 were some of the most influential films that had a huge impact on me when I was a kid. The original James Cameron’s Terminator movies were on my list of those few films that inspired me to do what I do today. Having a chance to work on Terminator: Genisys film with the art-director Dave Scott I was faced with a difficult task which was to update the T-800 endoskeleton design. The original T-800 made by a genius creator Stan Winston is still to me the most badass robot ever made and will most likely remain so. Needless to say, it is hard to update or improve what is already perfect.
The biggest challenge was to respectfully preserve the key areas of the iconic Stan Winston's design look while updating the mechanical design to make it more in-line with today's manufacturing technologies as well as more according to the industrial design continuity of the endoskeleton as a whole. The original skull became sort of an anchor point and reference for the visual language and I didn't allow myself to retouch its design. One of the aspects I tried to refine was to how internal skeleton's parts would affect the outer fleshy shapes seen at the skin layer. That thinking suggested a slightly more round bone-like reshaping of the forms that were previously a bit too pointy or too harshly mechanical at the areas that were in direct contact with muscles or close to outer skin layer. That pass was done in a more subtle way in order to preserve the powerful scary feeling that a raw mechanical skeleton originally suggested, something essential to Terminator design’s story telling aspect. Another thing to address were the tech panels that suggested a hollow structure of certain skeleton parts. I decided to design some of those with a more cnc-milled looking aesthetics that would visually suggest a stronger, heavier structure that can resist a heavy impact. My overall philosophy was to try if make any changes to the original design to do it not for sake of making it look different or to modernize it for no reason, but rather continue the original idea and tighten up the peripheral details where the flow permitted it and also enhance the sense of structural strength and terrifying rigidity. I also tried to keep the original kinematics intact and rather focus on cutting down the weight where it was appropriate and refine the details as well as transition areas to help balancing the design consistency. Another task I was given was to make the proportions of the skeleton slightly more exaggerated than of an average human making it easier to see Arnold's Mr. Olympia body around it.
Lastly I did an overall detail pass to make sure the design would hold up on extreme close-ups. Legacy Effects did a fantastic job bringing this design to reality and I was very pleased with how it turned out on the big screen.
At the time of working on the project I wasn’t using CAD yet so I did all the modeling in XSI around a 3d model of original T-800 I got from the art department. A combination of SUBD and Non-SUBD approach was used. I can see how I would make certain parts a bit differently today if I used a CAD modeler. Renderings were made using Keyshot.