Marvel Brings Thanos to Life with Medusa Performance Capture System

Marvel Brings Thanos to Life with Medusa Performance Capture System

Avengers: Infinity War proved to be a massive success for Marvel and Disney when it was released last year. The fourth Avengers film was the culmination of ten years of storytelling spanning eighteen films. The film featured amazing state-of-the-art effects that have earned it an Oscar nomination. One of the most dazzling aspects of the movie is the completely computer generated villain, Thanos. The otherworldly brute proved to not only be a major threat to the onscreen heroes but a believable and almost sympathetic character to audiences.

The Avengers’ formidable foe was brought to life by artists at Digital Domain and a performance from actor Josh Brolin. Using the Medusa Performance Capture System, a Disney proprietary technology, filmmakers were able to create a lifelike three-dimensional digital double of Brolin. This virtual version was then manipulated using a tool called Masquerade, which has been developed from a Disney Research project on enhancing facial recognition performance. The result is a character that not only appeared visually authentic but was also able to convey Brolin’s nuanced performance.

The Medusa Performance Capture System was developed by Disney Research in Zurich and is the outcome of years of development in capturing and modeling human faces. The new technology is able to accurately capture and reconstruct performances without the need for conventional dots placed on the actor’s face. The detail that Medusa provides is where the system really excels. Providing high-resolution recreations, digital artists are able to track wrinkles and even individual pores resulting in realistic digital doubles. The Medusa system has been used in many hit films like the most recent installments of the Star Wars series, The Jungle Book and Maleficent.

Photo and Video Credit: Disney Research

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