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Digital Special Effect Makeup vs. Physical Makeup in Movies

The special effects work of John Knoll’s special effects team has certainly raised the bar in believability of a fictitious character. His Industrial Light and Magic team created Davy Jones for Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man’s Chest. In this sequel, Bill Nighy is the actor who portrays Davy Jones’ movements and voice. He wears a dark grey motion capture suit, and two motion capture cameras were used as opposed to the 16 needed in the past. The process of Computer Generated Imaging (CGI) then morphed the actor into a convincing depiction of a cursed pirated who because he lives underwater, he literally becomes a creature of the sea.

This special effects “makeup” of this film was fascinating to watch and it really does trick your eye into thinking Jones’ is “real”. But does this mean that special effects artists need to trade in their brushes for a computer mouse any time soon? The answer is thankfully…no!

There will always be a need for makeup artist to apply their special skills to film, television, or theatre. There is one “living” character on the Flying Dutchman, actor Stellan SkarsgĂ„rd, who plays Bootstrap Bill…he had wonderful “live” barnacles protruding from his face.

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