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.”
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