Richard Percy Jones, who voiced the lead character in Disney’s 1940 animated adaptation of Pinocchio, died July 7 at his home in Northridge, Calif. He was 87. Bob Hastings, a veteran voice actor who played Superboy in The New Adventures of Superboy cartoons of the late 1960s and Commissioner Gordon on Batman: The Animated Series, died June 30 at his home in Burbank. He was 89.
The four teenage heroes of Penn Ward’s webtoon sensation for Frederator’s Cartoon Hangover come to the printed page in this one-of-akind, seek-and-find style art book. The premise is that sidekick critter Catbug has eaten some weird new food cubes, causing him to lose his limited control over his jumping abilities and sending him careening through dimensions. Your mission as peruser of this tome is to help the Bravest Warriors hunt through the universe, expertly illustrated by more than 25 artists. Fans should be especially jealous of the lucky 250 people who picked up the special foil-covered edition at Comic-Con last month, which sold at the show for $30 and is probably on eBay for several times that.
26Take home the musical indie feature Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return on DVD and Blu-ray today.
set and then we were going to be able to capture somehow the facial performance.”
But to get the nuances needed to make the Turtles not just amazing but also funny required some serious technical upgrades in ILM’s motion-capture techniques.
“The challenge here is it is an action-adventure-comedy, and so to do those comedy bits we had four actors — really funny actors — ad-libbing a lot of stuff,” says Helman. “Some of these very comedic situations came out of different performances, so we had to be able to edit the data and bring in one line from this take, another line from this other take, a look from another take.”
That decision initiated something akin to a huge science experiment that resulted in a new system ILM calls Muse, Helman says. “The whole premise of this system was we were going to be able to edit those performances because we needed to reinterpret this scientifically gotten data into something that was appealing and that was
telling the story that we wanted to tell with the character,” he says.
There were reasons for including the motion-capture data instead of key-frame animating the Turtles from the start. “You get the timing right and you get the attitude and basically the tone of the performance is there,” says Helman. “And then after that is interpreting this data so that you’re being true to the character you want to portray.”
Liebesman says directing actors in such circumstances was fairly normal. “It’s exactly the same as directing normal actors because you have the actors on stage,” he says. “I think the challenge is there are new possibilities ... (such as) making sure you are shooting a little wider than you think you need to because sometimes an animator can add something that isn’t possible or wasn’t possible on set.”
The Secret Ingredient
Animation ended up being the essential secret ingredient needed to turn that raw data into characters that were believable and true to their long history, says ILM associate animation supervisor Kevin Martel.
“Even though the (captured) movement is 100 percent real, it just might not look appealing on the turtle’s face,” he says. “And it can be something as simple as a smile and trying to dissect what it is that makes a smile look one way on an actor and something different on the turtle.”
Doing this with comedy is even more difficult, especially since mentioning animation and comedy in the same sentence inevitably brings up the work of Chuck Jones and Tex Avery.
“This is not that,” says Martel. “These guys have to feel like they are living, breathing creatures in this world. So it became about micro-subtle looks and shifts. The amount that you can do with an eye dart is pretty incredible. It can communicate so much if its timed and done right. So that was definitely a goal of ours on this was to get the comedy to come through.”
Animators had a wide range of controls at their fingertips via Muse they could use to ad- just the data as subtly as possible. “We can just boost things and move them around and just sort of re-fit it onto the turtle’s face,” Martel says. That retains the spirit of the actor’s performance while also making it look the way it needs to on the Turtles’ anatomy to convey emotion.
“It’s definitely a very delicate thing,” says Martel. “You need to keep it on model with the turtle but you need to keep the integrity of the actor’s performance and that’s always the challenge with all of the turtle shots, is trying to get the performance but make it look good on the turtle.”
Starting with the Data
Additionally, facial capture gave the animators a strong base to work with that included the most subtle and unconscious of facial movements that also fit exactly with the dialog the actors were performing. “From a performance standpoint, there was a lot of stuff for us to feed off of,” says Martel.
With data coming from not just multiple