CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The Walking Dead’s CGI tiger is actually a stuntman in a skintight mocap suit

The Verge: Believe it or not, The Walking Dead’s biggest special effects star this past season wasn’t the animation of countless gruesome and gory zombie deaths. It was a tiger — her name is Shiva! — owned by a pretend-monarch called King Ezekiel, and the deadly virtual feline played a big role in Sunday’s season 7 finale. It turns out that it’s a bit too cumbersome, and maybe dangerous, to bring a real-life tiger on the set of a TV show, so AMC and special effects guru Greg Nicotero decided to go full CGI.

4 comments:

Angel Zhou said...

Is Rhythm and Hues still bankrupt? I could not quite grasp the purpose of this article – it shows before-after shots of the human/CGI tiger, but it does not do much more than that. Rather than adding a few summary points of the documentary regarding VFX’s struggles, it links a 30-minute video and moves on to featuring the work of the struggling company. This article was appropriately titled – it showed that The Walking Dead CGI tiger was just a stuntman in a skintight mocap suit. Beyond that, it did not speak much to the amount of work and effort that goes into CGI nor does it discuss the choices behind having a human being emulate a tiger. The videos included prove that the tiger was actually a human, but they are very brief and do not explain much. I am very interested in how the company pulled off having a human execute tiger-like movements and I am also curious as to what kind of training the stuntman received to do so, and I unfortunately was unable to learn either thing from the article.

Taylor Steck said...

Every time I see an article posted about the something within the film or TV industry I get excited because I always wish I knew more about the specifics behind this industry with just as many details and history as theatre does. Obviously Carnegie Mellon is a conservatory style school for the theatre arts but I still wish that we got a further education about what it's like working as a designer for film and TV and the differences between that and working in theatre. However, I understand that we don't really have a need to learn all that much about CGI like what was talked about in this article. However, I also didn't learn much about CGI from this article either, but like Angel said, all this article was comprised of was some photos of the stuntman in the mocap suit. I would've like to have read more about the process itself, from the acting to the time in post production.

Emily Lawrence said...

This is going to sound horrible, but since I am an avid watcher of the Walking Dead, I found this article very interesting. It made it sound shocking that there was not an actual tiger used on set and that it was amazing that it was CGI. While it is absolutely amazing that technology has come as far as it has, the tiger does not look the most real on the show. When I first saw it, I was actually kind of disappointed because it was a scene in which a real, tamed tiger could have been used and there was little chance of someone getting hurt. During scenes where the tiger attacks people, I understand one hundred percent why a real one wasn’t used, but it was disappointing when it was just siting there. I am not trying to undermine the work that the techs did for that to look as good as it did, because it looked good, but I do not think it is reasonable to say that it wasn’t obvious. However, it was a good effect and added a much needed detail to the show that probably could not have been done a couple of years ago.

Megan Jones said...

Oh my god I think that GIF of the stuntman jumping off the trampoline in the blue morph suit is so funny. Personally I'm not the biggest fan of the Walking Dead and I haven't watched the show since the second season, but it's still very cool to get a behind the scenes look at their production process. Like Taylor said I wish that this article went more into the details of how this process works, as it was mostly just about showing the reader the before and after GIFS. I don't think that the end product was the most realistic thing ever, but still very good for the scope of production they were working on. All I know is that if I ever go back to watching the Walking Dead it's going to be hard not to laugh at that scene, as I'll just be picturing a man in a blue morph suit.