In April 2007, Bollywood history was made as Shah Rukh Khan launched his wax double at Madame Tussauds in London. In January 2015, 3D printing history was made with the unveiling of the first life-size print model. From the hair to the dimples to the glint in the eye, the silver statue bears an uncanny resemblance to its subject - Shah Rukh Khan.
How fantastic is my Team Red Chillies v/fx. Fully made in india the first 3D lifesize printout. My best B'Day present pic.twitter.com/TasbyWoUJ9— Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) January 13, 2015
Excited about this technology so I will over load you all with more images. 1st ever in the world!! Made in India! pic.twitter.com/xYCLY3UgB7— Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) January 13, 2015
Even the folds in the shirt and trousers are captured in such detail...and if I may add the dimples too. pic.twitter.com/RYwLcoxIVZ— Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) January 13, 2015
Creating the First Life-Size 3D Printed Model
Red Chillies VFX (headed by Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri Khan) worked with Autodesk India to create a life-size model of the actor in his trademark pose as a unique birthday gift for the star. In an interview with BollywoodHungama.com Red Chillies VFX Chief Operating Officer Keitan Yadav explained:
"The idea came around six months back when we wanted to gift him something that is unique, which is something that money can't buy, on his birthday which was coming up on the 2nd of November. Some time back we had gone to an Autodesk show where they'd printed an iPhone cover in front of us and that's where the idea came. If a cover can be printed, can we print a statue? That's when the whole process began."
The team first printed a small 2-inch 3D model. After adding details, they moved to a 1 foot model then a 1.5 foot model. Once they were satisfied with design and the details, they were ready to print the final version.
In a Deccan Chronicle interview, Red Chillies VFX Production Director Haresh Hingarani talked about the printing process:
"Initially, the idea was to make it one or two feet in size. Then we learnt that even life-size printing is possible. We took around two months to make it while the printing took around three months to finish. So in about six months it was complete. It was ready in August and we wanted to present it to him on his birthday but Happy New Year was going on and then he got busy with Fan."
The image of Shah Rukh Khan was created using the Autodesk software Maya, a comprehensive 3D animation, modeling, simulation, rendering, and compositing software that provides high-end character and effects toolsets for modeling, texturing, and shader creation tasks.
The crucial element was to get a cyberscan of Shah Rukh Khan in his signature pose then add a skeleton and details to create the model. Because such scans are standard practice for special effects in modern films, this scanning was done during production of the film Happy New Year. While the initial scan provided accuracy in dimensions and pose, the details were important - so additional input was required to get the model just right. In an Animation Xpress India article, Haresh Hingarani explained the overall development and creation of the statue:
"Every feature of his face, to shape of his head, hand, legs were scanned to detail on the sets of HNY. There are no statues in this pose, which makes it very unique as well. SRK sent us many pictures for reference and it took us nearly two months for the model to get the accuracy with the rigging and other processes and then another two to three months in development from Autodesk India’s end. ... The most difficult bit was to get the hair right, as we wanted to get the look of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. And now that his dimple is a little longer, we wanted to still give it the older smaller dimple to keep it memorable for him,” expounded Harry on the look used for the statue."
A Surprise for Shah Rukh Khan
Because both Shah Rukh Khan and the Red Chillies VFX team were busy with Happy New Year and Fan, it took some time before the gift could be unveiled. While the actor knew that Red Chillies had a gift waiting for him, he thought it was something having to do with computers. In a way it did, but in a way that was far beyond the star's imagination.
Shah Rukh Khan's immediate reaction to the gift was speechlessness as he examined the details of the statue. After five minutes, he shared his amazement and appreciation for this extraordinary gift:
"It’s the first 3D printed life-size model done by Red Chillies VFX and Autodesk team. It is overwhelming how technology has gone forward. I am grateful to be a part of this amazing new technology. This is outstanding and I am dying to show it to my kids. Its silver and shiny statue of mine in my classic pose. I want to thank Keitan, Harry, Red Chillies VFX team and Autodesk team who have worked on it. It’s the figure of work I have done for all these years."
The following playlist features videos about this one-of-a-kind 3D printed statue featuring Shah Rukh Khan along with the Red Chillies VFX and Autodesk team.