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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

[Walt Disney Pictures/Jerry Bruckheimer Films]

Jack Sparrow races to recover the heart of Davy Jones to avoid enslaving his soul to Jones’ service, as other friends and foes seek the heart for their own agenda as well.

After their experience with motion-capture technology in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, ILM knew it was time for something newer and better.

In an effort to allow all the performers to be present on set, ILM developed Imocap, a lightweight, low-footprint, robust, and filmmaker-friendly motion-capture system that could be used anywhere. This technology made it possible for actors to perform motion-capture on location during principal photography. As a result, director Gore Verbinski was able to work with his actors (who would later be replaced by CG characters) on set without having to worry about performing those same scenes at a later date on a mocap stage.

The work didn’t stop there, as Davy Jones’ tentacle beard presented another set of challenges — a big fleshy group of appendages that had to perform like a living creature. The creature development artists put in wonderful animation controls that allowed animators to move the tentacles in very specific ways, and a program was written that would drive the individual joints between the segments of the beard with a whole variety of parameters for high level control that would dictate emotional changes.

Behind the scenes, ILM’s revolutionary new Zeno pipeline moved fully into action, giving artists easy access to more tools than ever before.

In the end, digital Davy Jones was a huge breakthrough in the VFX industry and his realistic complexity garnered ILM the 2006 Academy Award® for Best Visual Effects.

Director: Gore Verbinski
ILM Visual Effects Supervisor: John Knoll, Roger Guyett
ILM Animation Supervisor: Hal Hickel
ILM Visual Effects Art Director: Aaron McBride
ILM Visual Effects Producer: Ned Gorman, Jill Brooks
ILM Studios: San Francisco