[Paramount Pictures/Nickelodeon Movies]

Rango was ILM’s first full-length feature animated film. It won the Academy Award ® for Best Animated Feature in 2012.

Those two sentences exemplify ILM’s dedication to their craft, as their work on Rango comprised everything from layout to final render.

Director: Gore Verbinski
ILM Visual Effects Supervisor: John Knoll, Tim Alexander
ILM Animation Supervisor: Hal Hickel
ILM Visual Effects Art Director: John Bell, Aaron McBride
ILM Visual Effects Producer: Jacqui Lopez, Katie Lynch
ILM Executive Visual Effects Producer: Janet Lewin
ILM Studios: San Francisco

Case Study


Release Date: March 4, 2011

Rango is an ordinary chameleon who accidentally winds up in the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost in the Wild West in desperate need of a new sheriff.

ILM took a unique approach to the animation of Rango by focusing on creating a photographic look for the world and its characters. With constant awareness of the light in each animated shot ILM was able to create a special feel for each scene appropriate to the storyline.

Being responsible for every shot in Rango was a new experience for ILM. To cope with this enormous workload ILM developed a new pipeline tailored to the needs of an animated feature. A breakthrough that stemmed from this pipeline was sequence based lighting: a way to take a whole series of shots that share a similar lighting setup and work on them as one big group, rather than approaching each shot as its own individual project. Using their new animation pipeline ILM developed more than 90 unique characters for the film, each filled with an impressive amount of detail.