15 Photorealistic Movie Characters


We know that 3D modelling is an arduous process, requiring extreme attention to detail and creativity. It might be draining sometimes, too.


8.Caesar, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Did you know that every single Caesar’s hair is built and articulated individually? It’s impressive! In such way, when apes are in motion – running, touching something or fighting – the hair does everything it’s supposed to do and looks real. Performance-capture has played a major role in picking up actor’s body and face motions, but the really remarkable work was done applying all that information to digital apes. There are 1,250shots in the film and there were around 700-800 people working on editing and getting everything together, which is approximately 40 people working to get a minute of footage on screen.

15 Photorealistic Movie Characters

9.T-600, Terminator Salvation

A high-end animation application software Houdini was used for rigging and animation to set up T-600 and Marcus cyborgs. Given the detail that needs to go into such animation process, invoking Houdini with its digital asset pipeline that allows different people to work on the same rig at the same time, seems like a reasonable choice. Although the appearance of T-600 has drawn a fair amount of criticism, since many thought of it to be too Frankenstein-looking, the detail that went into setting up the model is worth noting.

15 Photorealistic Movie Characters

10.Electro, The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Jamie Foxx, who played Electro, was wearing a black suit and blue make-up on set, but most of the work was done with computer generation. To make Electro as believable as possible, the Visual Effects team drew their inspiration from tesla coils, lightning bolts, plasma ball and any other form of energy. In order to give the film another touch of reality, Imageworks employed a freshly-developed software – “Doctor Gravity”, which allows blending real physics into the motion. In roughly 34 weeks, 1,600 visual effects shots were completed.

15 Photorealistic Movie Characters

11.Where the Wild Things Are

Having sold over 10 million copies, Maurice Sendak's classic children book was a tough nut to crack, especially given the amount and complexity of digital visual effects and rich emotional facial animation of the creatures that needed to be done. On top of giant puppets and costumes, a great amount of CG work was involved. In just six months the crew of 250 Framework’s CG wizards managed to pull 1,400 character appearances into an impressive movie that touched millions of hearts.

15 Photorealistic Movie Characters

12.Iorek Byrnison, The Golden Compass

The massive armoured polar bear, Iorek Byrnison, was not just another movie character. From the very start it was regarded as a co-star, therefore a lot of work and effort was invested to bring it to the same level of performance that the real flesh-and-blood actors exhibited. Over 200 team members worked on more than 300 shots and the result is fantastic. It all began from studying the real anatomy and physical structure of a bear, taking advantage of all the available references from photos and videos to interviews with an experienced wildlife cameraman. The beautiful Iorek’s armour was another challenge, since fitting one CG element on top of another and making it look flawless is not an easy task. And yet, the hard work paid-off…

Iorek Byrnison

13.Benjamin Button, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

When the fact that, what the audience actually sees in the first third of the movie is not Pitt, but a computer-generated copy of his head, sinks in, you start appreciating the amazing capacity of special effects. The challenge that the visual effects team was facing was a common one in movies that are heavily based on CG-generated characters – it’s the “Uncanny Valley”, or the creepy region for characters that look a lot like human beings, but don’t go all the way. So not making Pitt look like a zombie was a key goal and the movie turned out to be a real success.

15 Photorealistic Movie Characters