Greg has years of experience and expertise in creating the illusion of
artificial life. Greg and partners Chris
Chitty and Matt Ward founded Robotechnology in 1991, Australia’s first company specialising in designing and
building animatronics for themeparks, film and television. Notably amongst a
vast array of other projects,
Robotechnology designed numerous animatronic characters for “Babe”.
Encouraged by their earlier work winning the contract and creating hundreds of
characters for Warner Brothers
Movie World on the Gold Coast, Greg, Matt and Chris designed numerous characters
for shopping centre
displays, running faultlessly for years and able to interact with members of the
After the success of Babe, Greg and Matt moved on from Robotech to pursue other
interests and Greg has since
collaborated with numerous other companies on a wide range of projects such as
Babe 2, The Matrix, Farscape,
Peter Pan, Racing Stripes, Star Wars Ep III Revenge of the Sith, Oceans,
Unbroken and innumerable television
Due to their complexity, all animatronic projects are collaborations with numerous talented individuals and the
work featured here also includes the labour of many others. On some of the
non-Robotech projects featured
here Greg has also collaborated with Sonny Tilders, Trevor Tighe, and sculptors
Dave Elsey, Martin Rezzard,
Nick and Paul from MEG, Richard Mueck , Paul Trefry, Warren Kelly, John Cox,
Jason Baird, John Searle, and
Do Androids dream of Electric sheep?
The Robotech crew sure did for “Babe”. Twelve sheep characters were designed and built in only a few months and were
filmed on location in
Robertson surrounded a flock of real live sheep. With real fleece and smelling
and moving like genuine farm animals, even the real flock could not
tell the difference. The sheep were sculpted by Belinda Villani and rubber skins
made by John Cox. Christine Nagy tailored their stylish fleeces.
Greg, Matt and Chris from Robotech made the animatronics. No detail was spared.
The talking sheep heads designed and built by Greg even had
robotic tongues that could lick or help pronounce words, and some special
versions even had animatronic bums! Yes, their motorised bottoms were
loaded up with carefully sculpted fake poo pellets and could poo on cue. Surely
the pinacle of robotics technology has been reached!
Click on the sheep bums below right to see if everything worked out OK.
Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water.
These marine creatures are fully operational in open ocean. The 38 foot long
full size humpback whale was an ocean going wet-submersible with
ballast tanks, working blowhole, eyes and flukes, and caused more than a few
raised eyebrows when on his custom trailer travelling down the
highway. Greg sculpted and built the full size duplicate of “Old Tom” for the ABC production “Killers in Eden”. Tom could dive and surface at speed
and had a working blowhole. The great white was built for Jackie Chan comedy/action flick “First Strike”.
Greg is seen working on the free swimming Blue shark for Angelina Jolie’s “Unbroken”. The Netted Sperm Whale calf was just one of a group of full
size animatronic creatures for the Disney /Galatee production “Oceans”.
No need to get in a flap
These flying creatures were built with extreme care to match the real physiology
of live animals. For the Pelican from Babe Pig in the City, each
individual flight feather was mounted so that it would overlap and progressively
splay as the wings open and closed. The wings could sweep , retract,
extend and twist as well as flap. Ferdy the duck was fitted with a high powered flapping mechanism and adjustable wing extension and wing sweep.
He generated a remakable amount of lift and thrust due to his natural wing
stroke and realistic feathering work by Val Jones.
The Dragonfly was built by Greg and M.E.G. for an award winning Sony TV advert.
The accurate polycarbonate twisting wing structure also generated
a huge amount of lift when operated at speed.
Staying one jump ahead
The kangaroo was built in 1991 for a feature that never made it to screen yet
the technological advancements and approach of building characters to
be shot on location outdoors paved the way for Babe and movies which followed.
The ten foot tall tin man was a shopping centre character who
could run 7 days a week for years at a time without need for maintenance. With a
video camera hidden in his head he could break off his
prerecorded routines and interact live with shoppers.
Click here to see some of Greg’s themepark animatronics
on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/245278431