Motion capture has become an integral part of movie special effects, something the industry seemingly can’t do without anymore. From humble beginnings, the technology has evolved to the point where Andy Serkis can render minute facial movements and subtle expressions on a computer generated chimpanzee. More so than simple voiceover, mo-cap allows actors to get into their roles.
Io9 has scoured the web and assembled a cool collection that takes behind-the-scenes photos of the process, and pairs them with stills from the finished product.
As you can imagine, since Serkis is the veritable poster child for motion capture, he’s going to pop up quite a bit in these images. Like this one from Peter Jackson’s King Kong…
…or playing yet another primate, Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Then there’s his most famous mo-cap role, Gollum, from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. You get the impression that Peter Jackson just likes to make Serkis dress up in a funny outfit and move around all funny.
No matter your take on John Carter, they made full use of the technological tools at their disposal.
And stilts, apparently they also used stilts. That’s not so high tech, but it’s nice to see that old-school techniques haven’t fallen completely by the wayside.
Despite the fact that Seth Green will always look like a teen, only through special effects can the 38-year-old still play a child, like in Mars Needs Moms.
Did you know that one guy named Jason Cope played all of the aliens in District 9? That’s impressive.
This crew of buccaneers from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest looks like a gang of escaped convicts a black-and-white silent film. Bill Nighy looks especially like a prison mime.
By far the creepiest motion capture outing was Robert Zemeckis’ Polar Express, which took Tom Hanks and turned him into dead-eyed, soulless ghost of a train conductor.
Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk from The Avengers is the best take yet on the big green mutant, from both a character perspective, as well as visually.
The fact that the cast of Rango dressed the part makes me happy, especially that one guy’s epic fake beard. I wonder if they put sensors on the facial hair, you know, for authenticity.
Steve Buscemi dressed in what looks like a wetsuit and some chicken wire on his face is way more frightening than the finished product in Monster House.
Did they motion capture the dog in Tintin? Probably not, but I really want to know how that would work.
No accumulation of motion capture photos would be complete without a selection from James Cameron’s Avatar.
And the award for most awkwardly sexual use of motion capture goes to Angelina Jolie in Beowulf.