Andy Serkis’ Mowgli, a live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 “The Jungle Book” is a tapestry of digital animation, performance capture and visual effects.
Framestore’s Nigel Denton-Howes oversaw production visual effects client-side, leading four studios (Framestore, Rodeo, Vitality VFX, Black Ginger) to complete the vast amount of visual effects needed for the feature. ‘Andy [Serkis] had a vision from day one of the project and he stuck to it, and has created something great,’ says Denton-Howes. ‘This film is definitely a darker re-telling and a lot closer to the source material’
The cast included Cate Blanchett as Kaa the snake, Benedict Cumberbatch as the tiger Shere Khan, Christian Bale as the black panther Bagheera and Serkis as Baloo the bear. Serkis shot his principal cast acting out his script on a stage, with head-mounted cameras to capture their performance. The animators referenced these performances throughout the process when hand-animating the CG creatures, says Denton-Howes, ‘we obsessed over the performances the actors gave; Andy had an amazing cast who gave him beautiful performances, and we wanted to honour that.’