The mocap and crowd sims behind the hordes of zombies in ‘Army of the Dead’

A quick visual breakdown from Framestore.

On Army of the Dead, overall visual effects supervisor Marcus Taormina tasked Framestore with crafting many of the zombies that now populate Las Vegas as CG crowds. Here, Framestore visual effects supervisor Robert Winter breaks down the mocap, CG build and crowd sims used to create a couple of key shots.

Robert Winter: For the mocap, they had access to the stunt performers and a lot of the extras, particularly the stunt performers for the alphas, since they had a very specific motion. A lot of them were parkour experts. So having that resource, it made sense to mocap them because you knew you were going to get performances in motion that matched what they were doing in-camera with those same actors.
It really became the foundation for our motion library for these zombies so it would be seamless what they captured in camera. They put them in Xsens suits and that provided a lot of freedom of movement for the mocap.
We had hero scans of the bodies of some of the actors, some of the performers, a select group that had varying body shapes and sizes. And then we use that as our foundation. We had these key body shapes, male and female, that were the underpinning of all of the crowd for the zombies.
The real complexity was getting all that wardrobe, and that variety in wardrobe. Marcus and his team, they did some scans of as many of the extras as they could to give us some sense of a starting point for getting that variety of wardrobe. And that’s really what we spent a lot of our time on, which was getting a modular setup of wardrobe where we could get the range that they needed. We mostly used Massive for the crowds, with some Houdini work.