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Designing "TMNT"
To bring his vision for the latest incarnation of TMNT to life, Munroe sought the talents of veteran art director/concept illustrator Simon Murton. With more than 25 years of experience in film concept illustration and design, Murton counts among his recent film credits "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” "I, Robot,” "Van Helsing” and "The Matrix Revolutions.”

Munroe says, "This was Simon's first all-CGI project and, to me, that's the most exciting thing about it because he had a different take on design coming from live action. I told him that, when we're done, I want to be able to go through this movie, and pull any frame of the film and put it into a comic widescreen, of course.”

"We began with cinematic cues from certain black-and-white films from the 1940s and ‘50s,” notes Murton. "I really wanted to push the lighting and the environments to create the look and feel of an alternate reality.”

With most of the story set in New York City, Murton stylized the familiar Manhattan skyline and urban landscapes to make them appear uniquely "TMNT.”

For an action sequence early in the film where Michelangelo turns the sewers into his personal, extreme skate park, Murton describes, "I found excellent examples from waterworks projects in Hong Kong and Japan. Pipes in those places have to serve such dense populations that they make for some very interesting designs and shapes, which, in Mikey's mind, are perfect for ollies and railslides.”

The look of Winters' monolithic tower was inspired by architectural illustrations from 1920s New York and Chicago.

The art director offers, "Max Winters is a very successful man with the world at his fingertips. We gave him a huge, round office that also worked as an encased, glass elevator, so he can access any floor at the push of a button. The elevator office became the defining exterior feature of the Winters Tower.”

Three basic levels of the city were designed to juxtapose Turtle "safe” zones against human zones. Particular attention was paid to how a ninja would move stealthily through the city.

"A ninja would use shadows, rooftops and sewers to get around and remain undetected. To indicate Turtle ‘safe' zones we made the sewers warmer-looking, with rich browns and reds, versus the surface streets, which are lit with bright neon signs that seem very alienating to the Turtles,” notes Munroe. "The rooftops are also a safe zone for them, warmly lit by the night sky and the lights below. Like the sewers, it's a quiet place for the Turtles to look at the world from extreme vantage points.”

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