Thursday, September 8, 2011

I was recently thinking about how a lot of memorable characters in some of the best films are animated. Characters like Yoda from Star Wars, Dobby from Harry Potter and Gollum from The Lord of the Rings are all known and loved around the world. These characters all work opposite of live-action actors, and yet oftentimes, they are the ones that steal the scene. Animators create the look of the character, but also the emotions behind the character. It's fascinating to me that animators are able to create the emotions that make us fall in love with these characters.

I was curious as to how they go about creating entire characters from scratch and found an interesting article on how Gollum was created. This article describes the extremely detailed process of creating Gollum and all that went into it. Gollum is a very detailed character and the animators started by making a life-size sculpture of what they wanted him to look like. Then they scanned the sculpture and this data gave them the exact measurements for the computer model. One thing I found particularly interesting in the making of Gollum is that they did not use motion capture to animate Gollum's face, but rather recorded the actor playing him doing hundreds of different facial expressions. Then they recreated these expressions using key-frame techniques. The amount of time and work that goes into this is amazing.
I also came across an article on the 10 best CGI characters of all time that was very interesting.

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