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Matrix Revolutions has a lot of scenes with very complicated machines. For example, when Neo and Trinity are going to the machine city there is a huge defensive machine (pictured below):

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To CGI model something like this piece by piece would seem to be incredibly time consuming to do considering how many articulated parts the machine has. How was it modeled?

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I don't know for sure, but when I was a 3D game developer our 3D artists would position "textures" or "bump maps" on the surfaces of relatively smooth models. The textures are simply flat drawing that look complicated. Textures wrap around the surface of the 3D model and make it look a lot more intricate than it is.

Bump maps are similar, but they "hint" to the CGI rendering engine that parts of the surface should appear raised slightly, and others sunken. This changes how light and shadow are rendered across what is actually a relatively smooth surface. The CGI rendering engine requires a lot fewer calculations to add light and shadow across a bump map than it does to add light and shadow around a 3D polygon.

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