Even when a character is created completely with CGI,
that doesn’t mean an actor is out of the job.
The recent live action version of Dumbo
featured a computer animated version of the titular tiny Big Eared Elephant
And the reason Dumbo might have felt more real to you
than the average visual effects creation…this guy.
This is Edd Osmond.
他叫 Edd Osmond
He’s a Creature Performer,
and has been since he was fourteen years old.
You might not know his face,
but you’ve seen him on screen before. Under heavy prosthesis or CGI.
He played Dougal in Fantastic Beast And Where To Find Them.
A body double for one of the dwarfs in Snow White And The Huntsman.
And one of the characters in Star Wars The Last Jadi.
Creature Performers are actors who specialized in playing all sorts of characters,
whether real or fantasy, monster or animal.
Typically this involves an actor under heavy makeup
or in a full bodysuit.
This is a… it is yet a very strange job.
Our job is kind of like to be there,
and give a performance of the CG creatures
or maybe might be in a full prosthetic suit.
Make vary from job to job.
To play Dumbo, Osmond wore no prosthesis.
Just a few simple suits.
Because Dumbo was created with CGI,
it was his movements not his look that was needed here.
MPC Film, one of the VFXcompany that works on Dumbo
said that having an actor there in green suit
help the director Tim Burton in a shot composition.
So why not just use a simple puppet or stuffed animal?
Or even just a head on the stick.
Well actually, they did use what’s known as a stuffie for a few scenes.
These objects helped the crew figure out the lightning and camera angles.
They also had an additional photo realistic Dumbo sculpt
which was used mainly for lighting references on the skin.
But having an actor there in the suit
helped to make it easier to create Dumbo’s movements.
Especially for some of the movie’s more difficult shots.
In fact, they work so close with the actor
that visual effects supervisor Richard Stamers
could talk directly to Osmond wear an earpiece while he performed.
They couldn’t get every little thing from Osmond’s performance alone.
Dumbo’s expressiveness was truly a CGI marvel.
It took Osmond some time before he was ready to play Dumbo.
And getting to play a baby elephant
even when create with CGI, isn’t easy.
Movement was perhaps the key element in nailing down
this convincing invisible creature performance.
Nailed. No. I mean, you could get weird
完全搞定 不 我的意思是 你可能会变得很奇怪
no matter how what you do.
Lose all the ambitious, just go for it.
Osmond had about four weeks to train
and worked about two to three hours per day.
Just walking around on these arm extensions
which are often used for actors portraying a character who walks on all fours.
He had to be prepared for long days on set
of working exclusively on extensions.
The struggle with the arm extensions is
if you don’t get the rhythm right,
if you don’t do your right arm left leg, left arm right leg,
you end up walking like a table.
And to play Dumbo, he couldn’t simply walk around.
Osmond really had to move like an elephant.
Every animal has its own unique movements.
And mastering those movements can make a break at creature actor’s performance.
For instance, he played a gorilla in 2013 Tarzan 3D
in which he done an motion capture suit.
Walking like a gorilla and walking like an elephant
are two completely different skills.
Gorillas tend to lead it one shoulder while walking and running.
They can also walk on just their back legs
and hold their head similar to humans while moving.
Elephants are …they’re very…they’re very heavy on their front shoulders.
So it means when you walking and you on your arm extensions
you really do have to kind lead with your arms.
Which you can imagine as a human is pretty uh…uncomfortable
when you used to walking on your back legs.
In general, a gorilla’s movements are very similar to a human’s.
Thus making them easier to emulate.
Elephants are not as easy to imitate.
Osmond had to create the same shape of an elephant with his body.
Meaning he was always face down with his eyeline to the floor.
And on top of all that, he was portraying a baby elephant.
If you take on a job and you portraying a grownup character.
It’s quite simple because whether adult creatures are animals or humans,
那将会非常简单 因为任何成年生物 不管是动物还是人
they are always quite certain in the way they walk.
They have a clear direction where they want to go
and they are very certain in their movements.
Whereas with the baby character like Dumbo,
the difficulty is…is they are very spreading.
They have such a short attention’s band.
They might do a couple of steps one way,
and all of a sudden they decide they want to go another way.
While training he watched hours of footage of real elephant
to get a sense of how they move.
He also closely watched the original animated Dumbo movie.
He took a lot of inspirations from the film.
But it wasn’t necessarily the best way to learn how a baby elephant moves.
When you watch the original cartoon, Dumbo is very light on his feet.
And he’s got…he’s got flags.
He is very…he is very disney guide, he is very light.
Getting the movement down was also important for another reason.
Making the cast feel like they are working alongside of real elephant.
Osmond’s interactions with the actors were key.
Even though he doesn’t have a single line of dialogue.
The sounds Dumbo does make aren’t even him.
Osmond also spend as much time as possible
off camera bonding with the cast.
Especially the younger cast members.
So their sense of wonder about Dumbo on camera
would appear even more convincing.
One big factor affected how he interact
with the rest of the cast…his suits.
Being a creature actor also involves wearing a lot of different suits.
For this movie alone Osmond wore three versions.
The first suit was called the Performance suit.
This suit is built to look just like the character.
It was used for scenes where the actors needed to know
the exact size of Dumbo.
So for example, in the scene in which the actors touching the elephant.
Then there was the more bare bones costume.
Which they called the Ant-Man costume on set.
This outfit came with attachable ears and give Osmond easier movement.
It came in handy during scenes involve running or even a landing.
Because Osmond was walking on all fours,
he was facing the ground most of the time.
To help him see directly in front of him,
the effects team install the camera rig inside these suits.
They will give him a live feed
of what was happening in front of him.
The final suit was a special waterproof bath suit,
which is made to getting wet during the scene
where Dumbo is getting bathed.
This was especially difficult for Osmond.
On that scene meant dunking my head under water in this full-size suit.
Which also meant I couldn’t hear the director when he shout action
but I also couldn’t hear the director when he shout cut.
Since the suit was made to get soaked,
they couldn’t have a camera rig inside.
One of the actors in the scene would give Osmond
a tap on the back to let him know his cue.
Each suit came in different colors which were used depending on the shot.
For instance, in the scene where Dumbo was given a bath,
they used a black costume
as to allow the VFX-team to separate Osmond from the foam easier.
And while it might look like he got a raise
from the shorty he was in.
His performance couldn’t been more important.
Even when they don’t have any lines,
don’t forget the people behind the creatures.
Even when a character is created completely with CGI,