Thursday, January 29, 2015

Actual Animation ??

We hear a lot about motion capture inside live action, but sometimes it's something else.

“The main focus [in Guardians of the Galaxy] was to get Rocket [the raccoon] and Groot [the tree] to be as real as possible,” said Stephane Ceretti, one of the Oscar-nominated visual effects supervisors on the film. “We didn’t want them to pop out ... to look like Bugs Bunny in the middle of the Avengers.’” ...

The visual effects team decided to fully animate the characters rather than use the hybrid performance capture technology employed by another effects Oscar nominee, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” For Rocket Raccoon, they used a real animal for reference and inspiration. ...

They didn't want Rocket to be garish like Bugs, but Rocket was animated like Bugs, in the sense that they didn't use the Devil's Rotoscope to mold his performance, but used (gasp) the skills of animators at desks. And brought a raccoon into the studio for "reference." Much like animators on Bambi brought deer into the studio.

And of course this goes back to the question of how much animators are involved in motion capture productions, pictures like Planet of the Apes, Avatar and others. As more than one has said to me: "You gotta tweak the stuff or it looks kind of strange. And you've gotta animate lots of it. ..."

It's understandable that James Cameron wants to minimize animators' roles on his magnum opus and maximize the actors' roles, but face it: flying dragons aren't rotoed. And men and women running around in buttoned wetsuits against green-screen don't do all the heavy lifting for tall blue people themselves. There are men and women sitting in front of computers who do a lot of the work.


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