Wonderland of hybrid thesps

"Alice" characters combine add CG to live acting

A screaming Red Queen with a head that’s double the normal size. A suitably Mad Hatter with eyes that jump in size and change color with his moods.

Creating hybrid characters — part actor and part effects manipulation — is just part of what the “Alice in Wonderland” visual effects team had to pull off to whisk the audience down the rabbit hole.

“Getting the scale of the Red Queen’s head and the Mad Hatter’s eyes right was a constant adjustment,” says David Schaub, animation supervisor. “It was all really done to Tim Burton’s taste because he wanted something with real elements that was also wonderfully off.”

The Red Queen’s head also presented a framing challenge. The VFX team had to anticipate it becoming much larger when the footage came to them and then lay out each sequence accordingly.

“We used the eyeline set by the DP as a guideline,” says Schaub. “And from there we went with Tim’s drawings as a reference.”

More from Eye on the Oscars: Vfx, Sound & Editing:
Editors watch for basics | High notes from sound contenders | ‘Salt’s’ Russell racks up noms | Vfx realism serves story | Wonderland of hybrid thesps

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