• CGSociety :: Production Focus

    7 May 2013, by Paul Hellard



    “These are always incredibly challenging shows to work on,” says Overall VFX Supervisor for the production Chris Townsend from Los Angeles. “Marvel is famous for chasing the very best movie it can right up to the last minute. So, this is one of the hardest shows I’ve ever done, because of that. The crews had a very compressed schedule, a huge amount of work and this is very complex stuff. We had over 40 suits to build. All digital characters within all digital environments.”

    In amongst it all, shooting was delayed when Robert Downey Jnr (RDJ) broke his leg during a shoot day and that put the schedule into a tailspin for six weeks. It was during this time that VFX studios very much came to the rescue. “Together with face replacement and full body doubles, somewhere there was a solution to the problem of not having Robert Downey Jnr on set for the time,” explains Townsend. “The collective VFX Supes and unit leads ran into a room as soon as the incident happened to try to ascertain what sequences could they shoot.” There were locations that were locked in that the first unit had to go to. The final sequence on the beach was shot with a body double.

    They accepted it all, knowing they would be doing face replacements, as well as full body replacements in some instances, and so the scenes were shot with that in mind. “It was also very important with regards to VFX that they were able to collect background plates, data, lighting and lens info, and the rest of the crew were incredibly obliging with regards to that,” qualifies Townsend. “We were able to reconstruct RDJ as Tony Stark onset, with the help of that body double and the facial captures we’d collected afterwards.”




    Townsend approached Weta Digital after the leg recovery from RDJ with the shot pieces and they began creating a digital double of him which was used non-stop. Weta is known as one of the very best houses to create digital doubles and the results of their toil is shown to have been successful in the final movie.

    There were 17 VFX studios working on Iron Man 3, including an in-house group. Producer Mark Soper has worked with Chris Townsend on Marvel shows around the world and CineSync is still used between them as a communication and collaborative system for dailies. One of the things the duo aimed to do was to keep the lines of communication open at all times. “This was one of the rules when we went in at the very beginning, that we need to be sharing techniques and looks and everything, good or bad, along the way on this journey,” he explained. “In this global environment for VFX, you really need to be like this. It used to be that you could play things close to your chest but not now.”

    Townsend says there were two key assets being created across many facilities. One of them was the hero suit, and there were six to eight companies working on it. “They all needed the suit at the same time, and built their own versions as they went, based on the photographs we provided,” explains Townsend. “The job on our end was to coordinate and orchestrate the construction at our end, to make sure each suit looked the same from each vendor.”

    From January 2013 through to when the show wrapped only a month ago, Chris Townsend says collectively there had been one day of downtime over the entire crew of studios. “It really was a grueling show to work on, but the result I believe is tremendous,” he says. “Seven day weeks and 14 to 18 hour days and its brutal. It’s just what you have to do. You can only do it with the right group of people, and we had a phenomenal group of people working on this movie.”
     

    Glove-Boot Fight

    This was an homage to the first film’s sequence where RDJ is trying to get the jist of the suit. This time, he’s firing weapons and evading these dudes. He’s flying all over the place and flipping about. Very visual. There was a special set built so walls could fly out. RDJ was all wired, and a stunt guy was also set up so they could interchange. RDJ wore a practical boot and glove on set which the director wanted to use in camera in most spots, but in the end the whole kit was replaced with CG, because it could be turned and played with as the shot progressed. “We tried to keep to the rule that we’d only be doing VFX that you could practically shoot,” Townsend at one point. “But there was one spot where RDJ did a backflip and a twist. The camera couldn’t physically move fast enough to carry that off practically.” The solution was to build the room in CG and have the room move in the opposite speed to the camera to double the pace of the hero move in space. This was when RDJ had his leg injury so the stunt stand in did the flip gymnastics. Reverse-engineering the CG room around him and then replacing the face with the digital double replacement of RDJ.




    WETA DIGITAL


    There was a point in the Iron Man 3 movie that actor Guy Pearce playing what was called the Lavagod, was called back for a reshoot on one of the key sequences he worked on. By this stage he’d grown a beard. The challenge was to either replace half of his face with a digital replacement or just recreated him as a CG model and lip-sync to his voice. “Because of the beard, the Mocap data that was captured in the reshoot wasn’t really useable,” says Aaron Gilman, Animation Supervisor down at Weta Digital in Wellington on Iron Man 3. “From past experience, we knew we had an incredible facial and digi-double pipeline. So, in the end we could 100% of the face on Guy Pearce as the Lavagod is hand-key animated. The only motion capture is in the body performance.”

    Weta Digital worked on 500 shots and completed 36 suits and digital doubles. They were put on the Iron Man 3 show in October and the whole swag had to be done in three months. In fact the team in Wellington built an entire seaport in CG. The whole thing needed to be completely photorealistic. Six different variants of the crane were created as well, including the damage that occurs over the course of the battle along the top of the structure. And of course, there was also a ship. A bloody great tanker. Guy Williams from Weta Digital says that the only way Weta could work on the show was to exercise massive economy of scale. “We could only take short cuts only when we really had to and we could make no mistakes with the assets from DD and other vendors” he says.



    The only role animation would have had in the Extremis effect is to assure the quality of all of the match-moves and to make sure the application of the effect comes off as realistically as possible. “Whenever we get into complex motion like the crane destruction, the first thing we do is look for reference,” says Gilman. “We scoured Youtube, in fact anywhere we can find real-world reference of crane destruction. There’s quite a library out there too. There’s a ton of it.” Gilman and his team found that seaport cranes collapse in very specific ways. When one thing goes, there’s a particular pattern that these structure go through when they fall apart. All of that animation they create using this reference is then built onto an animation puppet. They had to be very careful about how to allow the puppet to be built as it all depended on how the crane would be collapsing during the production sequence itself. They didn’t want to have to go back and forth with the creatures department.

    “What we did was we basically gave the hero model of the crane to Julia Chung, an amazingly talented animated on inorganic things like machines and robots that need to be overcome with gravity,” explains Aaron. “She was the perfect person for that.” In concert with Guy Williams and Aaron, she had full control of telling the story of how this crane was going to fall apart. This was handed off to Marvel for signoff, and that then was the guide for the puppet that was created to bring the model into existence for the sequence. Aaron Gilman cites the amount of trust instilled by Marvel on the Weta team. He was Animation Supervisor on The Avengers as well.

    “They love it when we offer up solutions to issues in the art and storytelling arena,” says Gilman. “Things that we bump into in the process, we can suggest and put forward. They are very open to ideas.”



    The Weta Digital team didn’t build the animation as a custom shot-by-shot performance. The shot was built as a 500-frame full animation from start to finish, so it ran through its life, right up to its impact with the ground. This could be plugged into the various models, so the FX team didn’t have to be creating custom animations for each crane, from shot to shot. The Weta animation department pushed through 422 shots in just less that three months. “Obviously, not only a lot of work, but the complexity in these shots was huge,” Gilman adds. “It was definitely a very intense project, having just seen the final final film for the second time just last night, and I still marvel [no pun intended, I am sure] that the fact we got as much done, at that level of quality, in such a short period of time.”

    Comic-Con Trailer

    Chris Townsend prevized the sequence with animatics and the Marvel and Disney folks thought it would be a great set piece for Comic-Con to get the crowd ‘G-ed up’ for the film release. “It was a ridiculously accelerated schedule, and we knew the only way it going to be done is if this is the very first thing we shoot.” As a VFX crew, Trixter and Townsend hadn’t worked with Downey Jnr before, but he’d done two other Iron Man movies and an Avengers movie so RDJ himself knew what was required for such a complex sequence. The Trixter house was chosen because they were smaller, more agile VFX house. They ramped very quickly with concept art, 3D turntables, based on previz and started animating to get used to how the pieces moved, all very quickly. “We shot it with RDJ on wires and cable, jumping up and down doing his thing,” Townsend says. “Then we handed them off to Trixter and yelled, RUN! RUN!”

    Trixter

    Trixter started with a very small team doing pre-production work, designs, assets and concept animation. They also managed an inhouse test shoot; matchmoving an actor and have a digital concept animation over to prepare the production flow.



    Suit Connect

    This sequence shows Tony Stark in his laboratory testing his new suit. Throughout ‘IRON MAN 3, there are various sequences where the suit flies across to him and connects with Stark’s body. Four major sequences involve this coupling with the suit and Trixter was instrumental in working on the suit. The differences in previous Iron Man movies to this one is that when Tony Stark used the ‘suitcase suit on the Grand Prix track in Iron Man 2, he didn’t move. He was anchored to one spot as the suit grew around him. In ‘Iron Man 3’, he is running, jumping, in mid-air, as the suit finds him, flies to him and wraps around him.
     

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    “The whole thing started when we were asked to design the suit,” says the Animation Supervisor at Trixter Simone Kraus, from LA. “There are various stages of the suit’s ‘reveal’. First it’s lying on a table and you don’t see what it is. Tony Stark in the movie can alert these pieces and they fly to him and connect with his body. While they are flying they are in ‘transforming mode’. We built all the individual pieces in Maya after the concept stage, in a kind of concept animation.” In many of the sequences Trixter had work on, Tony Stark is moving quite a lot. There was heavy use of the matchmove software in these scenes, but they couldn’t put him into a moCap tracksuit because of the nature of the connecting suit scene is he’s trying out the suit for the first time and the pieces almost attack him. He’s wearing normal costume. So the Trixter crew put in tracker markers and relied on dots and crosses as the sequence progressed. They couldn’t use any other solution because his clothes had to be visible all the way through to when the Suit obscured it. Challenges abound.

    Trixter had 70 artists in and out over the year they were active on Iron Man 3. Not a big crew, but they were dedicated and talented. There were crews coming on and off, using Maya, NUKE, MARI, FumeFX, and KATANA as the lighting pipeline. “The use of KATANA was great for lighting the suits because everyone else was sharing assets and there was a need to know each other studio’s numbers,” explains Kraus. “We were privy to the first prototype of the Mk42 suit and we shared that with Scanline and Digital Domain.”

    It was through these restrictions that the Trixter crew developed how each piece would interact and connect with each other in a concept kind of way. They had to do this because the first sequence they were to work on was for the Comic-Con trailer for the Summer.

     



    “The Physical suit hadn’t been finished, and in order to create the visuals for that trailer, we attached those concept animations I spoke about earlier,” Kraus explains. Trixter had to work in parallel in order to get approval of how the connections worked. “There were connecting piece inside and outside of the jacket, legs, gloves and arm covers, several stages, as well as a full suit.”

    “There was a classic situation where somebody called me and said, ‘I have two news for you, one is good and one is bad,” explains Alessandro Cioffi on the phone from Munich. I could feel the twinkle is his eye. “The good news is that you have been selected to do the Comic-Con trailer for Iron-Man 3, and the bad news would be that you have only six weeks to deliver.” The terms of this deal was that Trixter was going to be delivered the assets to work with. The simple model. No rig, no shaders, no textures, just like, an empty suit.”

    Trixter also had a quite complex previz to work from, generated and shared from Third Floor in Los Angeles. The very first task for Alessandro was how to organize the work and it was clear to him that they couldn’t go with the suit as it was. “We were designing, modeling, rigging, compositing all at once. Our best efforts were made and in July the 24 shots in the Comic-Con trailer, which was a lot of labor and we were exhausted and happy. The suit had to be connected, and the connection had to happen starting from ‘idle items’,” explains Cioffi. “These were parts of the suit that didn’t need to look like final parts of the configuration. While flying to Stark, these parts needed to transform into parts of a suit. We had to split the suit into sections. Chris Townsend worked closely with us on the look of the gloves, boots and other elements, designing plenty of possibilities of the style the suit was going. Connecting parts would not be the same rigging system as the connected parts, for instance. Many iterations were tried, even resembling kitchen tools, even some small furry animal life configuration. The Comic-Con trailer production was a bit like a birth for us, and we were so very exhausted.”

    The Trixter guys (Alessandro Cioffi in glasses, center) and Aaron Gilman and Guy William (right) snapped at their Iron Man 3 talk at FMX 2013 in Stuttgart.

     

    The next level

    After completing the trailer, the odds were immediately sharpened for Trixter. They re-did and re-invented the sequence, creating a 50 shot, but they re-worked everything in the piece. “The connecting R&D we did for the trailer, helped us move more easily to the next level for the movie itself,” Cioffi affirms. “When we had to do another sequence called the Glove and Boots fight, there was a connecting action and we used the material for this sequence, using the Comic-Con trailer’s connection work as a basis.”

    When Trixter started doing rigging and animation R&D, they had to base themselves on some previz. They didn’t have the camera at all so they had to make sure the connecting dynamic would work from any angle. “We had supported heavily by Chris Townsend and Marvel and we could also work solidly on our own workflow,” said Cioffi. “Although we didn’t have time to develop any new plugins, our pipeline is quite rigorous. We introduced KATANA in the middle of the job. We’d been working on Maya and had RenderMan as our engine, but when we moved to KATANA, we could unify our lighting pipeline by having our Alembic cache imported in the same scene at the KATANA data and lit together and rendered together. This was a great help.”

    Trixter worked very closely with Scanline and Digital Domain on Iron Man 3 and partially with Weta and Chris Townsend was coordinating the whole show. The Trixter crew also designed the undersuit, which gave them insights into the the whole suit. But part of the suit was coming in from other houses. The collaboration, with Townsend’s assistance, was seamless. “Townsend has a great ability of creating a great team feeling among facilities working on the same show, on opposite sides of the planet,” says Cioffi. “The Glove and Boot somersault was a terrific example where everything came together exactly as the VFX Supervisor planned it. Firstly, the wires and rig for the stunt were too big to be used in the same location.” The stunt had to be carried out in a green box, basically a big greenscreen set. And the interior walls and props of the room had to replicated all as CG. A full LiDAR of the room was obtained from the set in Germany with 4DMax so Trixter could reproject the room interior from the LiDAR HDRs.

    Alessandro Cioffi wants a shout out to his crew in at Trixter as well as the crews in all the facilties that worked on Iron Man 3. “There were some long hours, but there was never a wrong spirit,” says Cioffi. “They always provided their best talent and work in order to create this great show.”


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    SCANLINEVFX


    There were so many different aspects of the attack vision," says Brian Grill, Scanline VFX Supervisor. "In fact the original animatic of the sequence is so close to how we matched it when we did it for the final movie." The combination of the animation, not only of Iron Man but the SuitConnect as well, was difficult. The SuitConnect is an effect that goes on all throughout the movie. When it goes onto Pepper, (Gwyneth Paltrow), saving her from the initial explosion, the effect was in slow motion, so there was nowhere to hide. Then there was the explosion itself and the destruction, so that shot took the longest for the ScanlineVFX crew.


    "As we were hiring a base of animators who were Maya friendly, we made sure to be all set to go for them with the Autodesk Suite. We actually changed our pipeline to be a Maya/Max and V-Ray pipeline. It allowed us to do all kinds of stuff," adds Grill. "Where there were so many parts of the suit being shown doing so many thing, the scripts we had in Maya just made it so much easier to put together. Trixter set the pace of how many pieces there were in these suits with their initial trailer for Comic-Con. The difference was Trixter had the suit all laid out on the table, while in this sequence we had them hanging there in the living room, and it activates, peels off and wraps around Pepper," says Grill.



    Proline, Scanline's inhouse software to manage smoke and fire, and all the rigid body dynamics are run through Max, while all the smaller particulates when generated with thinkingParticles. "We had some pieces of debris hitting Pepper in the shoulder and the knee, just to show that she was immersed in the explosion before the suit got to her," explains Grill.


    The Point Doom environment and the cliff house environment is quite real, but the house model which was destroyed was based upon the art department's take. The ScanlineVFX crew had to build the house from scratch with the knowledge that it would be destroyed in the end. "We had to create every internal post and grill, so when it fell apart, you saw everything. And when we rendered the collapse and the attack, the lights of the west coast dipped just a little," quips Grill. "It's got to be more than a petabyte of CPU and storage, and we used Vancouver and LA studio on the same render farm."


    Water sims are another leg to this sequence. The timing was taken from some broad-stroke hand animation. Running that through the simulation would give the crew all the force requirements and details. What's interesting is the balance between studios. ScanlineVFX worked on about 50 shots, getting in assets from other studios. They would bring the models into their camera and bring the detailing up, to compare with what ScanlineVFX shots were.


    In Iron Man 3, the collapse of the cliff house carried a lot of debris into water. Using a 3D model and showing very little, the use of light and shadow was a challenge underwater. Once underwater, Stark finds himself trapped, as a mountain of debris buries him alive. He deploys the Mark 42 suit arm, which disconnects and pulls Tony safely from the rubble, then assembles around him quickly. Tony proceeds to launch himself out of the water, into the sky above. The underwater work, with its pyroclastic silt, bubbles and volumes of debris raining down from above were all simulated with a heavy emphasis on real world physics, in keeping with Chris Townsend’s insistence on realism throughout.


    VFX supervisor Bryan Grill was aided by Scanline co-supervisors Darren Poe and Stephan Trojansky. Scanline Vice President and VFX Supervisor Danielle Plantec lent a hand as well, helping oversee effects work in Scanline’s LA and Vancouver studios. Scanline President and co-supervisor Stephan Trojansky notes. “When we were first asked to look at the previs of that sequence, I fell in love with it and could not resist! It just had everything in it that our artists love to do. I’m grateful Victoria, Chris, and Mark trusted us on this first Marvel collaboration that is now continuing with Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

     

    DIGITAL DOMAIN

    Digital Domain created approximately 300 shots in total for the Iron Man 3 movie, with around 250 ending up in the final show. In fact, every Iron Man suit in the film comes from Digital Domain's work. DD did the creative development for 14 ‘foundation’ suits, creating the complete assets for those suits that Weta and other VFX companies used in shots, and assets that other shops were able to combine to create additional original-looking suits. This work contributed significantly to the overall look of the movie. Digital Domain also handled the 'barrel of monkeys' sky rescue sequence featured in many of the trailers. It was shot live action to capture realistic in-air motion, and nearly all elements except for the actors/free-fallers were replaced with CG.

    Suit creation

    In the first two Iron Man movies there were just six suits, and in the Avengers movie, one more. In this movie there are 35 suits, built by Tony Stark on creative binges. Some are designed for space, others for underwater, for demolition, etc. They all fight in the end battle.

    Every suit in the movie is a product of Digital Domain’s creative development. Digital Domain had a small team embedded in Marvel’s visual development team. Marvel’s art department created flat concept art including front and back views (for most) or front-only views, and Digital Domain’s Nick Lloyd, Raul Dominguez, Brian Broussard, Masa Narita and Matt Bell created from those illustrations, full 3D versions of 14 ‘foundation’ suits complete with textures and lighting. They then turned those assets over to Marvel and Weta for use in their shots. One of the challenges of realizing the suits in 3D was in re-working the designs to ensure the suits had the correct physical aspects to allow them to move – changing proportions and component details for realistic movement.

    Jumping out

    The Barrel of Monkeys is the big mid-movie action sequence in which the extremist Savin sneaks aboard Air Force One to capture the President by hijacking and wearing the Iron Patriot’s suit. In the ensuing action Iron Man flies in, punching a hole in the plane through which the flight crew is subsequently sucked. Iron Man then executes a spectacular mid-air rescue of the entire crew before they fall to earth while the President is spirited away. Air Force One blows up in the sky after Savin detonates a bomb that causes a breach in the fuselage.

    Early on, VFX Supervisor Chris Townsend and second Unit Director Brian Smrzs decided to shoot this unique scene with live actors free-falling vs. creating them in CG for the most realistic look. DD VFX Supervisor Erik Nash (an experienced skydiver with more than 1,300 jumps) concurred. “Chris and I both felt that skydiving shot on greenscreen is generally not successful. People are familiar with the look of free-fall photography and it’s hard to get that organic, hyperactive camera feel in CG. We knew we had to use live action to get that realism.”

    The actors in the sequence, who wore parachutes underneath civilian business clothes, are all members of the Red Bull Skydive Team, as is the freefall cameraman who shot the sequence with a helmet-mounted Red camera. The Team member playing Iron Man wore a red and gold jumpsuit and an Iron Man-like helmet. The Team jumped from 13,000 feet and did seven to eight jumps per day for six days.

    Digital Domain then replaced nearly everything but the live actors with digital imagery. The 20-seat turbo prop plane was replaced with a CG Air Force One (complete with gaping hole, smoke and debris), and the underlying North Carolina ground plate was replaced with CG terrain that represents South Florida. The Digital Domain artists also added multiple layers of clouds to the sky, one of which the camera goes through, and changed the altitude of the plane to support the idea that the crew was falling from 30,000 feet and not the 13,000 foot altitude that was shot. A key part of making the sequence work was radically changing the flight path of the jumper playing Iron Man with a post move to make it appear as if Iron Man was flying up to the crew members and not just falling. The artists also painted out the visible parachute packs.

    “Realism was the goal,” Nash said, “Even when we replaced nearly everything we were able to start with the very active tracked camera from the freefall plate with an unmistakable visceral feel.”

    Artists at DD and at partner studios in London and Mumbai (Reliance) also undertook gnarly wire removal in this sequence, in the shots where Iron Man is dropping the rescued crew safely into the water.

    Air Force One

    Air Force One, seen throughout the movie is 100% CG, created by Digital Domain. The plane is photo-real down to the rivets, the way in which the metal reacts to the environmental lighting, and the way in which the chrome reflects surrounding environments. One challenge faced by DFX Supervisor Paul George and his team was that Air Force One is kept spotless and polished at all times, and doesn’t show the dirt and oil streaks normally found on jets that make them look real. Thus the CG AF1 is a bit dirtier than the real thing, to help its believability.

    Explosion at the Chinese Theater

    In this sequence, an addict overdosed on superhuman-strength serum transforms into a human bomb as the serum courses through his body and he explodes outside of Hollywood’s iconic Chinese Theater. A portion of the Theater outdoors in Wilmington, North Carolina. Digital Domain extended the sets significantly with CG. FX lead Jeremy Hampton and his team worked to develop the look of the explosion, which generated from an unusual source – a human body, and art-directed the effect. The transformation of the extremist prior to the explosion was developed by Digital Domain Compositing Supervisor Michael Melchiorre and his team and and shared as a visual target to other VFX vendors who needed to use the effect throughout the movie. It included multi-layer rendering of back-lit and anatomically-accurate flesh, veins, nerves and muscle.


    METHOD

    “We started up on the show in short and fast sequences but mainly on the Extremis effect,” explains Matt Dessero, the VFX Supervisor at Method Studios in Los Angeles. This is an energy force that surges through those who are exposed to it, and only one in six can control the power within. The legs of a huge water tower is heated up by one of the villains with the Extremis streaming through him and Method’s job was to recreate the tower and create the collapse and wet explosion of water as the massive water vessel lands in the yard on a trailer. A massive water simulation was required for this as well as snow and ice which lay on the top of the container. “As the tower collapses, water sprays out of the main pipe coming out and once it collapses. This was fully CG and matches incredibly well with the water towers photographed as reference by Chris Townsend,” adds Dessero.

    This is a night sequence. It was filmed around Rose Hill, North Carolina with the real tower being about 150 feet tall. “We build our CG water tower based on the original, with some slight modifications, modeled in Maya, textured in MARI. Ran our effects in Houdini and exported it thru Alembic, back into Houdini to run some RBD destruction passes.” Method broke the tank into two depending the type of shot required. The explosive shot where the water filled tank hits the ground was created with pretty traditional animation techniques just so they could control the crunching effect as it comes down into shot, and articulate the casing and girders around the explosion. “All done in Maya and Houdini,” explains Dessero. “We always ran sims so we could check that the gravity was running with proper forces on the tank, the girders and the cables. Once that was signed off, we began the water sims in Houdini. Surface, particle, spray, mist, everything you need to make water look completely real.” Savin heats the leg of the water tower until it becomes molten. He ends up pulling down on the leg of the water tower. All that metal starts to sag around the leg and down it comes.

    The Extremis Effect

    This effect was worked on at Framestore, DD, and Weta, Trixter and several others, and they worked on it for a long while perfecting the alignment of the effects for . There is one sequence where one of the evil heros, Kellian, is heating up a suit with one of the good guys, trying to get him to jump out. The Extremis system has many layers, starting at the vascular system, bones, and really being emitted from inside. Kellian had to be recreated in CG, with the extremis effect then becoming part of the build of the model itself. “We had to get our match-move going, so we had to just jump in there. All the blend-shapes needed to be created as well, tied into the rig” says Dessero. “It required a full rotomation to reform the internals all over the body. The vascular system and bone pass had to be connected to the inside of that rig.” There were several ‘glow passes’ and surface blistering, which topped off the effect as well on Guy Pearce’s character. Everything was done in ten weeks.

    Cinesite

    This was the first foray into the Marvel universe for Cinesite. I spoke to the studio’s VFX Supervisor Simon Stanley-Clamp in London. Cinesite came in nine weeks before completion and finished off 104 shots, with 99 shots making the final movie cut, and two which were awarded on the final day of delivery. “This was a rolling kind of show with changes and some 911 VFX shout outs. With 17 facilities, Chris Townsend’s job as overall VFX Supervisor shielded a lot of us from the wild changes but we had constant contact with the busy man himself, almost every day,” says Stanley-Clamp. “There were two 2K dailies run every single day of production.”

    Weta’s seaport sequence was shared out to Cinesite as well. The job of bringing the green-screen elements together from turnover takes on the location was coupled with placing the Weta seaport crane models, straight onto the LiDAR ground scans. Some elements had to be moved so they were matte painted out and recreated in CG, textured and placed in the new spots. “A sequence like that went quickly through our environment department, about ten days,” he continues.

    The sequence was complex for not only Weta but also Cinesite, as they were nesting the green-screen elements back into CG environment. It was a moving view, based on a helicopter aerial view, and many elements required a measured amount of repositioning, warping and resizing.

     




     

     


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