ByRicky Derisz, writer at
Staff Writer at MP. "Holy cow, Rick! I didn't know hanging out with you was making me smarter!" Twitter: @RDerisz.
Ricky Derisz

In the cinematic world of make believe, computer generated imagery has opened up a myriad of possibilities that allow even the most fantastical ideas to morph into an on-screen reality.

It can be easy to forget the hidden gems behind the imagery, those actors and actresses whose facial expression, body language and mannerism's provide the platform for the CGI gurus to do their work.

Below, we'll take a look at some of the most well known computer generated characters in Hollywood, and the real people behind them:

1. Davy Jones - 'Pirates of the Caribbean' (2006 - 2007)

Portrayed by: Bill Nighy

The ghost ship captain appeared in both Dead Man's Chest and At World's End, portrayed by the 66-year-old British actor, Bill Nighy. Jones, a tentacle faced pirate, is regarded as technically one of the finest CGI creations ever.

Entertainment Weekly named him the second most realistic computer generated creation, and the team behind the creation, Industrial Light and Magic, won the 2006 Oscar for Dead Man's Chest.

2. Gollum - 'Lord of the Rings' (2001 - 2003)

Portrayed by: Andy Serkis

No list of CGI characters would be complete without including the motion capture maestro, Serkis, and in particular his most popular character, Gollum.

The hoarse, boggle-eyed Stoor Hobbit was created meticulously by Weta Digital, and was one of the first creations who convincingly interacted within a live-action setting.

3. King Kong - 'King Kong' (2005)

Portrayed by: Andy Serkis

The big budget remake of the 1933 classic is Serkis' second entry on the list, with his performance in particular often regarded as one of the most authentic CGI creations in cinema.

Source: Twentieth Century Fox
Source: Twentieth Century Fox

Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson was also at the helm for the colossal gorilla epic, and used his company Weta Digital (who also created Gollum), to create an authentic Kong. Serkis even spent time with gorillas at London Zoo to immerse himself in the role.

4. Groot & Rocket Raccoon - 'Guardians of the Galaxy' (2014)

Portrayed by: Vin Diesel & Krystian Godlewski (Groot) / Bradley Cooper & Sean Gunn (Rocket Raccoon)

The extraterrestrial superhero with a penchant for talking in third person and the mercenary mammal both star in the highly regarded Marvel movie.

Source Marvel: Groot and Rocket Raccoon before CGI
Source Marvel: Groot and Rocket Raccoon before CGI

Like Gollum and King Kong, the characters had an on-set representation in the form of Godlewski (for Groot) and director James Gunn's brother, Sean (for Rocket).

In post production, Diesel and Cooper added their voices to create the final product.

5. Colossus - 'Deadpool' (2016)

Source: Wired
Source: Wired

Portrayed by: T.J Storm (motion capture), Andre Tricoteux (on-set performer), Stefan Kapičić (voice), Glenn Ennis (facial structure), Greg LaSalle (facial performance)

Yeah, Deadpool may've complained about the lack of superheroes in his record breaking first solo feature, but it did take a colossal effort to bring this X-Men character to life on the big screen.

Source: Wired
Source: Wired

Unbelievably, five separate actors all had an input into the final product. This ranged from motion capture on set, to facial performance, including 6'9" actor Tricoteux, who even at such a height needed platform shoes to capture Colossus' sheer size.

6. Neytiri - 'Avatar' (2009)

Portrayed by: Zoe Salanda

James Cameron's movie was esteemed as technologically innovative, not least for its spectacular use of 3D technology. In the leading role, Salanda portrayed Neytiri, who witnesses the colonization of Pandora first hand.

Source: Discovery
Source: Discovery

Cameron himself had wanted to create the film in the '90s, but decided to wait until the technology was up to scratch. Unsurprisingly, the film won three Oscars, including one for visual effects.

Who is your favorite CGI character?


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