Animatrik recently helped deliver the metal mutant near and dear to our hearts – Deadpool 2’s Colossus. Performance capture for the character packed quite a punch.
A fan-favourite from the original Deadpool, Colossus is iconic in the Marvel universe as a stiff, metallic, ‘heavy-hitting’ hero. He can pack quite the punch, which is no small feat to achieve in production for a live action film. Performance capture played a huge role when building his body and facial animation, provided by Animatrik and DI4D.
“A whole range of possibilities exist when using performance capture; from crafting fully-immersive worlds to bringing digital elements into the reality. In production for Deadpool 2, we bought a touch of humanity to Colossus’ metallic limbs, tracking the actor with pinpoint precision and recording motion data for a true-to-life CGI recreation.” says Brett Ineson, President and CTO of Animatrik Film Design.
Compensating for a colossal character
Several performance capture sessions took place on the Animatrik stage in Vancouver – the largest independent motion capture facility in North America.
Animatrik’s main focus was compensating for the difference in scale between a human performer and Colossus. Stuntman and actor Andre Tricoteux wore a trackable suit, with an extended helmet to match the eight-foot height of the final CG character. Later in production, visual effects studio Framestore rose to the challenge and applied careful keyframing to complete the full motion effects for walking, running and even fighting.
Animatrik also brought in AR-based technology to display Andre Tricoteux’s live action performance and digital character side by side, streamed to a tablet via camera tracking solutions from Ncam.
Motion capture is a discipline in which actors must always keep in mind the fictional, unseeable world their CG avatars eventually inhabit. But by visualising Colossus in real time, cinematographers were able to remove this guesswork, get instant feedback, and more effectively direct the performance.
The voice of Colossus, Stefan Kapicic, then performed a round of facial performance capture using DI4D systems. He wore a helmet-mounted facial capture rig and performed in front of a specialized camera capture unit to deliver dialogue for specific scenes. Resulting geometric data became a reference for the final animation, reproduced in a matching version of Framestore’s own facial rig.