Last week, the internet was ablaze with some great jokes regarding Henry Cavill’s role in the reshoots for Justice League. Because he is currently shooting Mission: Impossible 6, Cavill grew an impressive mustache that would totally hide his identity as Clark Kent even more than his classic spectacles that somehow guard him from people recognizing that he actually is Superman.
Because Justice League reshoots are underway, Cavill’s schedule is quite hectic. However, Paramount Pictures is not allowing the actor to shave off his mustache despite his need to play Superman in Justice League. So instead of him shaving it off and having to wear a fake mustache for the rest of his work on Mission: Impossible 6, VFX artists on Justice League have to digitally remove his mustache for the footage used in the reshoots.
Business Insider recently spoke with some VFX artists at The Mill regarding the process of digitally removing facial hair off of actors. As it turns out, that process is quite common depending on actors’ involvement with other projects. Dave Fleet, head of 3D for The Mill discussed the process that may be utilized for Cavill’s situation:
“Smoothing out tiny vellus hairs on the skin requires a totally different approach to removing a large volume of hair, like a beard or mustache. If we were to remove a beard we would have to digitally re-build the actor’s face behind the hair mass. We would need to build a 3D model of the face and then shade the surface of the skin to look realistic. We would then need to track the 3D model to the movement of his head and potentially re-animate his mouth. The amount of lip animation would depend on how much of the original beard occluded his lips. We would need to paint out the parts of the beard that extend beyond his shaven face.”
Fleet also explained how long it will take to remove the mustache in post-production:
“One week just to make the 3D elements; then another three weeks to track, animate, and render the shaven face; and another two weeks to composite it all together.”
VFX artists are some of the most hard-working people in the industry. For one, putting together some of Hollywood’s most exciting set-pieces is something to be lauded for. Also, their work on the effects one doesn’t see immediately also deserves some praise. So yes, the removal of the Super-Stache is just as impressive as seeing the Justice League unite to fend off the Parademons. Talk about artistry.
Justice League opens in theaters on November 17, 2017.
Source: Business Insider