The ideal of digital doubles — a CG recreation of an actor's face being used over footage of a real stunt performer — is hardly new in cinema. But the work done on seamlessly integrating them into Logan is nothing short of amazing.
Image: Image Engine, courtesy of Cartoon Brew.
Cartoon Brew has a fascinating, in-depth interview with staff at Image Engine, the Canadian VFX studio that helped build CG replicas of Hugh Jackman and Dafne Keen to be used in several action scenes throughout Logan. While last year's Rogue One may have ignited a debate about the use of CG stand-ins and recreations in prominent roles in films, Logan's VFX work is mainly a testament to how seamless CG replicas can be inserted into a film without the audience realising that it wasn't, say, Hugh Jackman barrelling around behind the wheel of a limo, but instead a trained stunt driver — then digitally replaced with a shockingly realistic CG replica.
Image Engine ultimately made full body CG renders of both Jackman and Keen to stand in for Logan and Laura multiple times in the movie, and it's honestly a little creepy to see them side by side with their fleshy counterparts. The level of detail is fascinating — and as difficult as the work of integrating them into the movie seems to have been, the final effect is so good that it's still sort of baffling to me to be told which scenes features the CG doubles and which didn't.
Be warned: The article also briefly discusses some pretty major and spoiler-iffic plot points from Logan, so if you haven't seen the movie yet, you probably don't want to click the link. If you have, though, it's well worth checking out, as the insight into the process of making Logan's digital doubles is remarkable.