Animating 3D characters by using motion capture and live action recordings of real characters


In the past decade, technology has evolved fast and this has created many opportunities for small studios, such as the British Studio, Ninja Theory, to create 3D characters using motion capture and live action recordings.

They have used this technique to create a psychological experience by telling the story of Senjua, a troubled young girl who embarks on a quest to go to the Viking Hell to save her dead lover. Her story is told through a cinematic video game, which helps the player understand how it is to live with severe mental illness. The main character is struggling with psychosis, hears voices and sees things that are not really there.

To create this impressive story, the crew used new technologies. The main actor, Senjua, was one of their colleagues that was working as a video editor at that time. She did not have previous experience in acting and she was very shy. It is incredible how she managed to create complex emotions and give life to this character. Her name is Melina Juergens.

She explained her experience in a video posted on YouTube.

The example of Hellblade: Senjua’s Sacrifice is a proof that you do not need a big team, a big budget or experienced actors to tell a great story. All you need is a handful of people who are passionate about a project and that work together to make it happen.

The performance of Melina Juergens ( ) has won her 3 awards for "Best Performance" and one nominee for her vocal performance.

Maura N.

The Last Black Unicorn
Staff member
I have played the video game Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice a while ago and I was impressed with the story. The crew explained at the end of the game how they created the game and I had no idea it was created using a real actor and all the facial expressions were real. It is truly amazing how much has the technology evolved. The performance of Melina Juergens was incredible, I had no idea it was a first time experience for her.

There will be a sequel to this story, called "Senua's Saga: Hellblade II", but the launch date has been postponed because of the pandemic. Hopefully, it will be launched sometime this year. Until then, the actor Melina is back on the set and has made a video about her journey as the actor in the upcomming game:


In the past years, I have watched the development progress of the upcoming sequel. While I was doing so, I found out that the Florida State University has conducted a study to determine if video games such as this can help reduce mental health stigma. The study was conducted by allowing participants to play or watch Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. The study can be found here:

The crew behind the video game also made a video about this on their YouTube channel:

Honestly, this video game was a different experience for me and the story had a strong impact. The acting skills of Melina Juergens were truly impressive and unexpected. I would have never guessed she is not a professional actor.

István Kovács

Active member
When I was just a kid, video games were just moving pixels. Now, they use real actors and voice overs. This video game has proved that there is a market out there for actors that they did not see before. There were more actors in the first game, according to IMDB:

The list of actors for the sequel is not currently available on IMDB but I expect to be a wider cast:

Especially after seeing this video:


Oskar Kuusk

Active member
I had no idea about this. Now, I want to know more. I knew that video games were made using 3D animation and other computer software but having real actors...this is the next level.