Say what you will about Jonathan Liebesman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (and critics had plenty to say), the movie’s a smash hit, and a sequel is on its way. Are there ways to improve on the semi-winning formula? Of course, and this Making Of video is a great place to start.



Wired posted the video as part of its Design FX series, where experts break down the How and Why on our favorite blockbusters. The focus of this one is on the facial recreations that were used to turn stuntmen and actors Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Pete Ploszek and Jeremy Howard into Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo and Donatello, respectively. ILM uses something called Performance Retarget to turn the actors – in leotards and masks that record facial movements – into talking, fighting turtles. Pablo Helman, a VFX Supervisor, elaborates on how the process of capturing "performances" on actors can help effects artists translate that into what you see on screen in the movie.

The process reminds me heavily of what Andy Serkis and the team at Dawn of the Planet of the Apes did this past summer for Fox’s mega-hit blockbuster. Coincidentally, Wired tackled that film, as well.



But one could easily cut a highlight reel together for all of the work that Andy Serkis does. Heck, the final credits of Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin boasted all of the amazing Mo-Cap work done by the actors and animators to preserve performances.



The bigger question becomes, are you happy with the way the Turtles turned out? Motion capture means digital animators can create virtually anything that they want in a computer. But do you think the faces on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles looked believable? Too cartoony? Was the humor in the movie a bit too much? Because fans (and families) are responding in kind to the franchise launcher. The $125-million movie has grossed nearly $320 million worldwide. A sequel has been ordered. And improvements can be made. But the overall look of the Turtles likely will stay the same. Now that you have seen them, and how they are made, does it work? What would you change?

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