December 11, 2008


The studio, in association with producer George Paige, approached Lewis with the idea of animating the characters from his 1963 live action film, which Lewis both wrote and directed. The Weinstein Company signed on for financing and distribution and Evan Spiliotopoulos was brought in to write the script.

According to Rainmkaker producer Barbara Zelinski, the project was produced over an 18 month period. "We used pre-viz extensively, which allowed for greater execution in production in blocking, staging, choreography and camera angles," she explains. "It also allowed the team to identify what shots would need visual effects to get them into production sooner."

Development and pre-production began in January of '07. Production started in September '07, and the film was delivered the end of June 2008.  Rainmaker created a main cast of 11 characters, including many costume variations, unique environments and props, and a number of secondary and background characters. 

The studio spent considerable time developing materials and textures to ensure that metal looked like metal and that reflections had a broken specularity, all of which maintains a world that makes sense but is more impressionistic than realistic.

The modeling team used Z-Brush, Maya and Photoshop for texturing. Animation was accomplished using Maya and Rainmaker's own proprietary facial program Twitch, a facial character rig that operates within Maya. The studio also used Flash for the 2D animation that appears when viewers are inside Harold's head. A combination of hardware was called on to pull of the job, but most of the work was accomplished using HP 6400 workstations.

Lewis did two characters  - Julius Kelp and Buddy Love - just as in the 1963 version. Drake Bell voices his grandson Harold.