Well our long international nightmare is over: Andy Serkis was not nominated for an Oscar after trying to take credit for the work of countless VFX animators, artists, and TDs who worked on Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
I found the whole debate silly as it was a diversion from the real issues effecting the VFX industry. What’s sad is that as Andy continued his campaign for an Oscar, he started doubling-down on his persistent ability to show how little he knows about the process.
He kept referring to the work as “digital make-up”, as if the Caesar model was just wrap-deformed onto his motion capture performance. Animator and blogger Tim Borelli who started a rebuttal to Serkis’s campaign with an open letter to him, recently found a smoking gun that pretty much puts this debate to rest:
Look at these 2 “Andy Serkis/Caesar Morphs” that Andy has been promoting on his Facebook page:
Now look at this animation demo reel:
This very talented animator’s shot breakdown notes that in Caesars’s Goodbye (link 1 above), “Everything (from 0:00 to 0:17) was keyframe animated, except for the character’s spine where mocap data was used & polished.” Also, at 0:44, he notes that the very same shot from link 2 above was animated entirely by hand.
I’ve posted Apes animator Jeffrey Engel’s reel above and the evidence is pretty compelling. Some of the most important shots that Andy Serkis used in his Oscar campaign and claimed to be just “digital makeup” were actually almost all keyframe animated.
The irony for me in watching Mr. Engel’s reel is this:
Here is a VFX animator who must be meticulous and honest about the work he did on Apes so he could get his next job.
And here is Andy Serkis who was dishonest about the work he did on Apes so he could get an Oscar.