Blade Runner White Dragon Cut > Blade Runner > Message from Tom Southwell : Making of CGI for Syd Mead’s Chinatown

Message from Tom Southwell : Making of CGI for Syd Mead’s Chinatown

A complete CGI recreation of Syd Mead’s production sketch of Chinatown that was never recreated in the film! This is the making.

The production sketch of Chinatown drawn by Syd Mead

In last article, I estimated the Warner Bros. backlot that Syd Mead used as the basis for his sketch of Chinatown. It was just a guess, “If there was a place where Syd Mead based his sketch of Chinatown, this would be it”

However, I received the following message from Tom Southwell, the production illustrator for “Blade Runner”, in response to my last article.

This part of the Warner Bros. backlot was not available for BladeRunner as preparations for ANNIE were occupying the space. Syd Mead’s outstanding sketch had to be fit in elsewhere.

Tom Southwell on Facebook

In other words, the Warner Bros. backlot that Mead used as a reference for his sketch of Chinatown could not be used for the preparation of the film “Annie”.
Now you know for sure that Mead’s sketch of Chinatown was based on the Warner Bros. backlot.

Once again, I compare Mead’s sketch with Google Street View of the backlot.

The Syd Mead’s production sketch for Chinatown
Google Street View of the Warner Bros. backlot

The shape and placement of the buildings match perfectly. The three pillars at the entrance of the store on the right side of the building also match. You could see how accurate Mead was in his sketches.

Now I can start creating the CGI.
Blender has a function to import data of buildings and roads from OpenStreetMap, so I will import the data of this Warner Bros. studio backlot in actual size and build on it.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for Mr. Southwell for sending me the valuable information. Mr. Southwell has uploaded some valuable materials related to Blade Runner on Facebook. Please take a look.

Tom Southwell on Facebook

To be continued…

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