“We discovered that only in close-up shots, it was necessary to backup the faux 3D data with keyframe animation to replace the missing extra depth animation,” explains Lon Molnar. “For many shots where the actor spoke, or his mask deformed, the faux 3D facial match-move was good enough and we were able to reproduce the performance without the motion capture equipment.”
Lighting the CG head and mask was a significant under-taking. In order to sell the mask as a non-CG element, IC had to re-produce all the shadows created from the source lights by the fedora and other objects. Together with the shadow creation, the off-white fabric produced a challenging palette of subtle variations and layering of colors that needed to be captured in every frame, all of which had to be blended into the final shot. Intelligent Creatures also delivered various New York City Streets environments, set piece extensions, blood, gore, snow and breath throughout the film.
The L.A. Times actually called ‘The Watchmen’ story, ‘unfilmable’. Years ago, Pete Travers of SPI would have said the same thing. “But anything is filmable in these digital days, and it’s just a question of how good the result would have been.”