Saturday, September 24, 2011

Titanic: Animation on a Grand Scale

Titanic was on TV the other day (Honestly, when is it not?) and it got me wondering how much of what I saw was actually real and how much was animation technology and visual effects. I found this website that breaks down and analyzes a lot of the effects used in the film. One thing I found particularly interesting is that in a lot of the wide shots, the people on board the ship are actually computer-generated images. These digital extras were created through a combination of motion capture, freehand animation, and roto-capture. Roto-capture is where actors perform the action as a reference, and then animators key-frame CG models using the footage of the actors. It’s amazing to think the time that went into this, and Titanic is full of these scenes.

In the scene where Jack and Rose are running through the corridor away from a wall of water, it is actually stuntmen running. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet filmed the scene without the water, and then their faces were added to the bodies of the stunt people. Just watching this scene, I wouldn't be able to tell it was actually stunt people running with superimposed faces.

So much of the film is visual effects but most are very convincing and seamlessly done. It took hundreds of people to create these effects and the efforts definitely paid off.

Below is a video I found that shows some of the animation and green screen work done on the film. Having seen the movie so many times, it's interesting to see the other side of things!

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