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Watching a giant octopus try to telepathically communicate with a human in an alternate dimension is already bizarre enough, but what if you were to find out those tentacles are actually human dancers?
In a VFX reel from The OA Part II like nothing you’ve ever seen (or possibly will see again), Method Studios takes interpretive dance to another level with swaying, undulating humans that morph into the many limbs of a Lovecraftian cephalopod. That’s right. Those slithery things are actually our species. The way Prairie (Brit Marling) responds to the dancers’ touch as the creature tries to tell her…something…makes you think she really is being assaulted by tentacles.
So how does a dancer in a blue bodysuit go from human to octopus? No DNA change is needed here, even in a world as strange as that of The OA. As you can see from the parts that get grayed out to show what is actually real and what has either been created or transformed by Method, the head of the octopus and the tank it’s hanging out in are all pure 3D CGI. Now here comes the freaky part. Tentacles. Back to human arms. Back to tentacles.
Now that you may or may not believe what’s actually going on here, really immerse yourself in how the metamorphosis from human to octopus goes down. The dancers aren’t all entwined into one huge otherworldly entity. Instead, footage of each one is taken before they are put together in a composite that creates the octopoid.
Unlike a lot of VFX reels that simply show an actor being drawn over in 3D CGI to give them fur, feathers or other features that don't belong in our genome, things are actually subtracted from the dancers’ arms—before the overdrawing—to create those tentacles. Then what remains wriggling is covered in many digital layers to give it that slimy, glistening look.