[VIDEO] Weta Digital Reveals How They Turned Benedict Cumberbatch Into Smaug For The Hobbit Posted by Joseph Lee on 02.22.2014
He performed motion capture...
Weta Digital has released a new video in which they show how they turned Benedict Cumberbatch into the dragon Smaug for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Weta's David Clayton also spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the process. Here are highlights:
On what Cumberbatch did to bring Smaug to life: "Using our motion-capture stage, we recorded his performances, which focused on the conversation with Bilbo sequence. Having Benedict in a mocap suit was lots of fun -- for us, and hopefully for him, too -- and seemed to help get him immersed and home in on the character."
On adding Cumberbatch's performance to the animated dragon: "The translation of performance from Benedict to Smaug wasn't a one-to-one match like you'd get from a humanoid creature. They have very different physiologies. As animators we had to transpose the elements of Benedict's performance that were critical to the shot, such as head nuances and facial expressions. We then built up the majority of his motion with keyframe animation."
On the enormity of Smaug: "Smaug needed a formidable presence, so we worked hard to craft impressive poses for his massive body, wings and tail. He also covered a full range of moods -- from supreme arrogance to paranoid suspicion, from curiosity to violent rage. Adding to his versatility as a character was the creation of his hands. We achieved this by adding a thumb and extra forefingers to Smaug's wings."