Visual effects and animation journalist Ian Failes
To produce the shot of Meryl Streep’s character appearing to have her head twisted backwards, three live-action background plates were filmed. The first was with Meryl wearing a stretchy blue hood over her head and walking backwards. The second plate was a clean plate, and the third involved Meryl performing in a blue bodysuit against a bluescreen.
The blue hood was digitally removed from the first plate and replaced with the corresponding area from the clean plate using black- and-white mattes created using Parallax’s Matador Paint system. Meryl’s head from the third plate was extracted from the bluescreen and match-moved into position.
Finally, a computer-generated twisted neck piece was modelled, animated and matchmoved to fit between Meryl’s body and extracted head using a combination of Softimage 3D animation software and custom ILM software. It was rendered in RenderMan and then composited together. Additional paint work was also required.