Animatronics is a combination of animation and electronics. What exactly is an animatronic? Basically, an animatronic is a mechanized puppet. It may be preprogrammed or remotely controlled. The animatronic may only perform a limited range of movements or it may be incredibly versatile.

The scare created by the Great White coming out of the water in "Jaws" and the tender otherworldliness of "E.T." are cinematic effects that will not be easily forgotten. Later animatronics was used together with digital effects. Through the precision, ingenuity and dedication of their creators, animatronic creatures often seem as real to us as their flesh-and- blood counterparts


Step 1: Design Process

During the design process, the client and the company developing the animatronics decide what the character will be,its appearance total number of moves, quality of moves, and what each specific move will be. Budgets ,time lines and check points are established. Many years have been spent to ensure that this critical step is as simple as possible. Once this critically important stage is solidified and a time line is agreed upon, the project moves to the sculpting department.

Step 2: Sculpting

The sculpting department is responsible for converting two-dimensional ideas into three-dimensional forms. This team can work from photos, artwork, videos, models, statuettes and similar likenesses. Typically, the client is asked to approve the sculpting before it goes to the molding department.

Step 3: Moldmaking

The molding department takes the form created by the sculptor and creates the molds that will ultimately produce the character skins. Molds can be soft or hard, single or multiple pieces, and reusable or non-reusable. To get the sculptor’s exact interpretation, mold making is both an art form and an elaborate technical process. The process can be very time- consuming and complicated. It can be so unnerving that some animation mold makers even refer to it as “black magic.”

After the mold is finished and cured, it is ready for skin making. Fiberglass shells are simultaneously being laid up to form the body and limb shapes. Some of these shapes are reusable stock pieces, but the majority of shells are custom made for each character.

Step 4: Armature Fabrication

Meanwhile, various body armatures are being created and are assembled in the welding metal-fabricating areas. Each of the robot’s movements axis points must have an industrial-rated bearing to provide action and long life. Each individual part requires a custom design and fabrication. These artisans are combining both art and technology to achieve realistic, lifelike moves.

As the armature takes shape, the actuators, valves, flow controls and hoses are installed by the animation department. The technicians select those components carefully in order to ensure the durability and long life. As it’s assembled, each robotic move is individually tested and adjusted to get that perfect movement.

Step 5: Costuming

The costume, if there is one, is usually tailored to the character and its movements. Animation tailoring can be a very difficult tedious process considering the variables. The outfit has to allow for easy acces to the character’s operating mechanisms. It must also “look” normal after movement has taken place. The costume must be designed to provide hundreds

of thousands of operations without wearing out and without causing the skin areas(i.e. around the necks or wrists) to breakdown as well.

Step 6: Programming

Finally, if it is an animated character the electronic wizard move in to connect the control system into valve assembly in the preparation for programming. Programming is the final step, and for some animations it is the most rewarding. Programming can be done either at the manufacturing facility or at the final installation site. In programming, all the individual moves are coordinated into complex animated actions and nuances that bring the character to “life.”


Long before digital effects appeared, animatronics were making cinematic history. But it was in Jurassic park that the best possible combination of animatronics and digital effects were used together. Spinosaurus was a new dinosaur animatronic created for "Jurassic Park III" by Stan Winston Studio (SWS). SWS worked with Universal Studios and the film's production team to develop the Spinosaurus design. Below lies the discussion of the amazing process that creates and controls a huge animatronic like this dinosaur!

  Jurassic Machines

  Dinosaur Evolution

  In the Beginning

  Creature Creation

  Putting it together

  Making it Move

  Monster Mash