Feb.13, 2014

Robocop is hitting theaters this week. Sony Pictures and MGM's RoboCop remake, starring Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton etc opened in North America at midnight on Feb.11, 2014.

The distribution of on-set photos prior to the film's release generated significant negativity regarding the style and color of the suit. While Paul Verhoeven's original RoboCop suit was all bulky, silver and boxy, the reboot version is more sleek, stealthy, almost ninja-like armor. - "It's too sleek." "Why is it black?"

The new Robocop reboots the story from Paul Verhoeven's 1987 sci-fi action movie of the same name about a hard-working police officer targeted and nearly killed by a drug lord whose decimated body is used in an experiment to create the perfect cybernetic police officer.

For the remake, director José Padilha turned to Martin Whist, production designer of the film for a new design. It turns out a lot of attention is paid to the functionality of the suit, including how the organic elements are maintained and how it's controlled.

"It was really important to us to get the design right because we're fans. It's this iconic suit, but many of its elements would appear dated to the eyes of a contemporary audience coming to the franchise for the first time," Whist says in an interview with Co.Design. "At a time when Apple sets the bar when it comes to design, we wanted to stress the sleekness of 21st-century design as contrasted to the boxy technology of the 1980s."

The team made two updated suits based on the original one. The first RoboCop suit was a prototype that looked much like the costume from the original which gets upgraded over time. The upgraded suit is black that comes complete with a gleaming red visor. According to Whist, the sleeky design was inspired partly by real-world materials like graphene.

Once the designs were finalized, the 3D models of the two suits were sent to company Legacy Effects to build. The company is famous for making suits for Iron Man, Avatar, Real Steel, and Pacific Rim, among others. There elements were then printed out on high-definition 3D printers (Legacy owns Objet and Envisiontec 3D printers) before being painted and assembled into the final suit.

In the video below, Jason Lopes of Legacy Effects explains how 3D printing is used to design and create the characters and creatures used in some of the most popular blockbuster films and animations of recent years.

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