Back in October, Entertainment Weekly revealed some of the secrets behind Blade Runner 2049's most startling cameo, Sean Young’s Rachael Replicant from the original 1982 film. But the VFX company who resurrected Rachael for the sequel has finally shared a fascinating and detailed breakdown of how it created the flawlessly lifelike digital double.
A blockbuster film like Blade Runner 2049 will have many visual effects studios working on different shots, but it was the Moving Picture Company who handled what are arguably some of the most complex, and most impressive, shots in the movie. Using various techniques, which included scanning actress Sean Young, 35 years after she originally played Rachael, MPC was able to design a digital stand-in and animate it using a motion-captured performance from another actress.
The techniques MPC used aren’t necessarily new, but often times there’s just something not-quite-right with digital doubles that can distract viewers and take away from a character’s performance. Remember how odd Princess Leia and Wilhuff Tarkin appeared in Rogue One? But with MPC’s digital Rachael, visual effects may have finally crossed the uncanny valley.