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Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

Sci-fi sequel "Blade Runner 2049" uses cutting-edge visual effects to recreate the character of Rachael, played by Sean Young, exactly as she was in the 1982 film. Here's how they did it.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Alcon Entertainment/Warner Bros/Columbia Pictures / Read the article
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of 20

Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

Visual effects company MPC created a digital model head, identical to that of the young Rachael.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Alcon Entertainment/Warner Bros/Columbia Pictures / Read the article
2
of 20

Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

Sean Young in the original film. Young returned for the sequel to be photographed and to provide reference on set while Rachael's scene was filmed.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Sunset Boulevard / Read the article
3
of 20

Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

The digital head was then added to real footage involving a stand-in on set with co-star Harrison Ford.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Alcon Entertainment/Warner Bros/Columbia Pictures / Read the article
4
of 20

Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

In this shot, the digital model of Rachael's head lends a ghostly quality.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: MPC / Read the article
5
of 20

Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

Stand-in Loren Peta took the place of original actor Sean Young for the sequel's pivotal scene.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: MPC / Read the article
6
of 20

Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

The digital head built by MPC had to be perfect down to the finest detail.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Alcon Entertainment/Warner Bros/Columbia Pictures / Read the article
7
of 20

Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

Skin texture, makeup and even fly-away hairs were added to make the model look real.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: MPC / Read the article
8
of 20

Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

We're trained to subconsciously recognize the subtlest nuances in faces, so we can be thrown by even the tiniest thing that doesn't look quite right -- an effect known as "the uncanny valley."

Published: / Caption: / Photo: MPC / Read the article
9
of 20

Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

The digital effects team went into incredible detail, including complex soft tissue simulations on the face and eyes.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: MPC / Read the article
10
of 20

Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard with Sean Young as Rachael in Ridley Scott's 1982 film. Young acknowledged it's "nerve-wracking" to know that she could be recreated without her involvement, but she was glad to be involved in "2049."

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Getty Images / Read the article
11
of 20

Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

Stand-in Loren Peta acts opposite Harrison Ford and Jared Leto.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: MPC / Read the article
12
of 20

Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

Dots on Peta's face were used to track the movements of her head, which could then be mapped with the digital version.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: MPC / Read the article
13
of 20

Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

Both Peta and Young were filmed saying Rachael's lines with a special head-tracking camera rig.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: MPC / Read the article
14
of 20

Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

The digital model begins with a skull as a base, before building outward with tissue, skin and hair.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: MPC / Read the article
15
of 20

Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

The MPC team also made small tweaks below the neck to "Rachael-ify" the performance.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: MPC / Read the article
16
of 20

Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

The result is a pivotal moment in the story when we see Rachael as she was in the original film.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: MPC / Read the article
17
of 20

Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

The model was animated to mimic Young's performance from the original film, drawing too on the performances from Young and Peta on the sequel's set.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: MPC / Read the article
18
of 20

Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

Finally, the model was composited with the plate shot on set, with texture and lighting effects added.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: MPC / Read the article
19
of 20

Rachael the replicant

A digital model

On the set of "Blade Runner"

Rachael meets co-star

A ghostly view

Scene with a stand-in

Details matter

Skin tone and fly-away hair

Facial nuances

Profile shot

Rick and Rachael in the original

Stand-in with co-stars

Dots on the face for mapping

Speaking parts

Scene with skull

Without hair

With hair

Digital mimickry

Texture and lighting

Digital double

Casting the scene's atmospheric lighting over the digital double completes the effect, making this one of the most polished digital doubles yet.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: MPC / Read the article
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of 20
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