It‘s 2012, and most of us know that movies nowadays are made with several techniques beyond just filming. Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) technology has been used all over the world by the film industry since 1981 when the first CGI human character, Cindy, appeared in the movie Looker. With CGI technology, filmmakers convert 2D images to a 3D life-like animation, making fantasy look like reality.
KRU Studios is one of Malaysia’s most successful media and entertainment companies to first use CGI technology. Founded in 1992 and spearheaded by Norman Abdul Halim, KRU Studios provides services related to music and film and are also known for creating photo-realistic visual effects and digital audio as well as video production using state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge technology.
Their first CGI project was completed in 2004 in the form of a video clip for Adam, a singer signed under KRU Records. In the video clip for the song Tak Tahu, Adam is seen in a spaceship. To make this video, Yusry Abdul Halim — the senior vice president and Norman’s brother — taught himself how CGI works, and by the time this clip was done, he had proudly mastered the technology.
In the next year, they made their first CGI movie, Cicakman. In Cicakman, CGI is used to produce scenes that are impossible or too dangerous to record in reality’, said Norman. It cost them RM 2.5 million, and the response was overwhelming. It seemed that nothing could stop them.
According to Norman, it usually takes three to four CGI companies and some 300 artists to make a film similar to Transformers, Battleship or Avatar. KRU Studios made Cicakman with only three artists, including Yusry. Norman stated,
‘It is very unfair for local viewers to compare local movies to (those made in) Hollywood. We had to learn from scratch’. However, today, KRU Studios has more than 30 CGI artists.
‘To produce a CGI movie, one does not need to have specific qualifications, but you do need some drawing skills to produce animations’