Just like Arnold Schwarzenegger, visual effects aren’t just about action and spectacle.
In Henry Hobson’s melancholy zombie film Maggie, Schwarzenegger plays Wade Vogel, a devoted father who cares for his daughter, Maggie (Abigail Breslin), after she contracts a dreadful disease which gradually turns its victims into flesh-eating monsters.
For my latest article on the Cinefex blog, I spoke to Aymeric Perceval of Cinesite, whose team delivered over 80 VFX shots in which they applied subtle digital makeup to Breslin and other performers, in order to show the progressive effects of the infection.
In this extract, Perceval discusses this the difficulties of “applying” the digital makeup to extreme close-up shots in which Maggie’s face was not only constantly moving and flexing, but also going in and out of focus:
It was definitely challenging. Abigail’s skin was completely baby smooth, so the tracking team did an incredible job, frame by frame. Imagine all these close-ups of body parts subtly twitching, with a focus point constantly traveling … and no tracking markers! As the disease progressed and more painted veins appeared on Maggie’s skin, this task became a little easier.
Close-ups of Maggie’s feet going in and out of focus, with their subtle twitching, were massively tricky to track, even with the existing makeup. Senior matchmover Matt Boyer came up with sets of distorted planes which proved very helpful, and matchmove lead Arron Turnbull and his team did a magnificent job.
For some parts, we created geometry from the on-set pictures. Our head of assets, James Stone, modeled Abigail’s head based on photos provided to us. Incidentally, when we did receive measurements, our digital model was only 2mm out!