“Guardians of the Galaxy” – Cinefex 139 Extract

by Graham Edwards

Guardians of the Galaxy - Cinefex 139

Issue 139 of Cinefex magazine contains in-depth articles on the visual effects of four of this summer’s biggest movies. Through this week, we’re giving you daily tasters from each article in this, our latest issue.

First up is Guardians of the Galaxy, the smash hit space movie starring the funkiest fellowship of interstellar misfits ever to take to the heavens. In this extract from The Rocket Files, Jody Duncan’s 21-page article on the film’s VFX, Framestore visual effects supervisor Jonathan Fawkner talks about everybody’s favourite genetically-enhanced raccoon.

Framestore animators based Rocket animation on Sean Gunn’s on-set performance, as well as on Bradley Cooper’s vocal performance, captured with a six-camera system at a recording studio in London. “We were able to film Bradley Cooper as he performed Rocket’s lines,” said Fawkner. “Using the six-camera system was great for us because we had all the angles covered. We typically used that for our first pass at the animation, and then we’d show it to James and Stephane, with reference of Bradley doing the voice in the corner of the screen.

Only in the final stages of animation did the animators incorporate raccoon behaviors into Rocket’s performance. “James wanted an actor more than he wanted a raccoon,” said Fawkner. “We had done some early animation studies with more raccoon behaviors, but Marvel and James never responded well to those tests. Later on, though, we started introducing the odd nose twitch and ear scratch. The one character trait James did emphasize was that he wanted Rocket to be very nimble with his hands. He often said, ‘If Rocket has a super-power, it is his super hands.’ And so we found moments in our sequences to highlight Rocket’s hand movements.”

Cinefex 139Read the complete article in Cinefex 139, which also features Edge of Tomorrow, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

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3 thoughts on ““Guardians of the Galaxy” – Cinefex 139 Extract

  1. Make-up effects luminary Neill Gorton commented on Cinefex coverage of the Drax make-up in Guardians, where the characters tattoos were reported to be a digital clean-up of a ‘tattoo t-shirt’ instead of the prosthetic make-up that it was: “Shocked and disgusted at a magazine I used to love printing outright lies. Lazy journalists and glory grabbing VFX people. Given the amount of VFX in Guardians I’m surprised they feel the need to shamelessly, and falsely, glory grab from the fantastic prosthetics.” What a shame that Cinefex would get this so wrong.

  2. Hi Guys

    I have discussed this with Neill today. And I have also talked to David White this morning as well. Basically David said that there is no reason for anyone to go at war on this. On my side I am sorry if my explanations were less than perfect. As I have said and mentioned many times I think that what David and his team did on Guardians is absolutely amazing. We did use some digital magic on Drax and I think it is fair to report it because it did require a lot of artistry as well. All these SMUFX we had looked tremendously real both live and on screen. In any case, this is the proof that the blend of practical and digital magic gets some amazing results and David and myself have cooperated all the way on this. I would not put the blame on Cinefex, as I said my words might have been confusing… I am french, what could I say more ?? :) Cinefex is a highly respected magazine that I love, done by talented journalists, it is part of why many of us have been inspired to do what we love and they do a fantastic job to report about how we produce our illusions.

  3. It’s great to see that this misunderstanding has been talked about in a very civil way. It would also be nice if Cinefex was to print an apology in its next issue. Guardians of the Galaxy is a fantastic film. Very entertaining. Great work done by both the visual effects & special makeup effects. I would imagine that both departments will be up for & hopefully winning oscars next year.

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