Looking Outwards 5 – 3D Computer Graphics

Star Wars: Rogue One, the second of the recent Star Wars spin offs, was a great success in the box office. This movie, unlike the other recent Star Wars remake, had a more difficult chronological placement. As a result, the writers of the film brought back many characters from a movie that was made in 1977. Due to the large span of time that has passed, one of the supporting actors, Peter Cushing, had passed away in the meantime. Instead of writing his character out of the new movie, the writers decided to ambitiously include the character Cushing played by recreating him through computer generation. Motion Capture Technology is a method of computer animation that involves using a real life actor whose motion in a role is recorded with intricate detail and then mapped to a CGI model that perfectly mimics the actor. The computer generated model of Cushing was rendered based on a plaster cast of his face that had been made in the 80s. The mapping onto this rendering was created by the actor wearing a mask with dots which move with his facial expressions and then replicating these same dot’s movements on the computer model. The effect is a flawlessly animated replication of a dead actor, the first time such a stunt has been pulled off.

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