Posted March 2, 2017 by Kyle Boshoff in Feature

6 Impressive Motion Capture Actors

The world of animation continues to astound and impress, just look at games released today compared to games released just 10 years ago. It’s incredible to see how CGI has improved and how life-like characters can be in both a game and in an animated film. A big reason for the improvement is down to motion capture, and the hard work of motion capture actors and animators. It isn’t easy making a CGI character act real so motion capture work is vital. Here are just 6 great examples of motion capture done well.

Mizuho Yoshida – Solid Snake

This Japanese actor is both famous for his work as Godzilla in the movie GMK (Full title: Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack) and his mocap work in video games. His most famous role in video games is that of Solid and Naked Snake in Metal Gear Solid 2, 3 and Twin Snakes. It doesn’t end there though, he’s also provided mocap support in Resident Evil: Outbreak, Dino Crisis 3 and Onimusha: Warlords. I picked out his work as Snake because as much as David Hayter brought the character to life with voice, Yoshida provided the right moves to make him just as believable.

Steven Ogg – Trevor Philips

I’ve never actually finished Grand Theft Auto V, in fact I doubt I’ve finished any of them, but there’s one character that just leaves an impression. Trevor Philips just steals the show with his crazy-ass ways, and it’s all thanks to the wonderful motion capture acting of Steven Ogg. Think that performance is good, well, you might actually recognise him as he’s one of Negan’s goons in the latest season of The Walking Dead. It takes a very good actor to make a completely repulsive character, charming and entertaining.

Patricia Ja Lee – Jill Valentine

I was at odds about this one because this particular motion capture actor wasn’t a lead in the game. Patricia Ja Lee provided the mocap for series vet Jill Valentine in Resident Evil 5. Although she’s not a playable character in the main game (she does get two DLC missions though), she’s still quite prevalent in the cutscenes. Jill Valentine is an extremely athletic and agile fighter so I must commend Ja Lee for being able to pull off all those gymnastic moves and high-flying kicks.

Camilla Luddington – Lara Croft

No surprise here, the reboot of Lara Croft was sensational and inevitably spawned an equally successful sequel. Besides being a terrific game, it’s the performance by Camilla Luddington that’s won the hearts of many Lara Croft fans. Not only was her voice acting work top-notch, she pulled off all the stunts for Ms. Croft herself. Each fall, each hit, each pull of the bow was all thanks to this talented actor. I hope she can build on this career and venture into other games as she’s very good at it, in my opinion.

Joseph Gatt – Kratos

Now for a more seasoned mocap actor. Any Banshee fans will instantly recognise Joseph Gatt. He’s a physical giant and does a lot of mocap for one as well. His most famous role is that of Kratos. While he doesn’t provide the voice, he certainly brought a lot of bad ass machoness to the character of Kratos. Now, I may hate the game post GoW 1, but I will say that the creation of Kratos is well done and executed. I am however, wondering how he managed to pull off those blade moves. Some of Gatt’s other work includes: Sniper Elite; Killzone: Liberation and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Andy Serkis – Monkey

Ya’all knew he was coming. Andy Serkis is probably the king of motion capture. His performances have earned him accolades all round the world, especially for his work as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and Caeser in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. He’s also done quite a bit of video game work, particularly reprising his role as Gollum. There are two other games that he’s well known for: King Bohan in Heavenly Sword and Monkey in Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. I chose Enslaved over Heavenly Sword mainly because he’s the protagonist and because I still think the game deserves more recognition (maybe even a remake). Monkey is a hell of an interesting character, balancing the strength of a macho man with the agility of a monkey. I don’t think any other actor could’ve pulled Monkey off as well as he did, but then again, this is Andy Serkis we’re talking about.

I hope to mention and include more motion capture actors out in the world as I do think that they deserve more recognition for the work that they do. They help bring some of our favourite characters to life, some even share their faces. I must admit, though, I wonder if it’s weird to play a game when you’re a character in it?

Kyle Boshoff

I R 'Kaal'gat Kyle!