Avengers Endgame Without the VFX – Part 1 [Cinesite VFX Breakdown]
Avengers Endgame was definitely in store for some amazing VFX. Including a revamped “Professor Hulk”. Just look at the detail in the way the pores stretch and flex with his skin! Incredible!
This sequence of Tony Stark, lost in space on the M-ship, was mostly done by Cinesite, who created the lonely exterior shots of the ship and retouched Nebula’s eyes to make them blacker. Her CG robotic arm was added by them too and they also did the visual effects for the sequence where she gets the orb and damages her arm in the process.
Cinecite also took care of the chase between the Outriders and Hawkeye beneath the rubble of the Avengers’ base.
Choreographing the interaction between these 8 limbed creatures was a pretty challenging.
They created multiple animation cycles of the way the Outriders move, which included running, climbing, crawling and leaping.
The scenes were blocked out first, which basically means key poses are created to establish timing and placement of characters and props in a given scene or shot and the animation was then later refined for each creature.
One key aspect of Cinesite’s work was environments.
For example, this shot was made up of CG buildings vehicles, and multiple bluescreen shots of extras positioned on cards placed in Nuke, to bulk out the shot.
The sequence that involved Ant-Man giving Tony a “mild cardiac dysrhythmia” was also Cinesite’s doing…
Now, personally, despite how disappointing the character was for some, the VFX work done on Professor Hulk was insane!
What’s also insane is how many different VFX companies worked together on this move, 14!
Framestore developed their Machine-learning technology in order to create a quick first pass animation that could be used to help filmmakers decide on the edit before beginning the process of refining.
Keyframe animation was then deployed for over 60 shots of Professor Hulk.
This procedure of capturing the performance was key for the animators.
A new facial capture system was also created by ILM, specifically to make Smart Hulk look as close to actor Mark Ruffalo as possible.
Getting the look right look and performance also involved scans, facial capture and hand animation of the actor, as well as some concept art for reference.
Digital Domain and Weta Digital incorporated new proprietary software to put more detail into the face.
Now, seeing as Hulk’s face a lot larger than Bruce’s, tiny changes to his face had a big effect on the performance. So, a new subset of facial shapes was built to give animators more control in the animation allowing them to achieve more complex, subtle expressions.
When it came to shooting Captain America fighting his younger self, this was filmed on a green soundstage.
Yep, everything other than the bridge floor they’re standing on and a set of stairs was greenscreen!
The only problem was, all the detail added in the amazing CG set made it more confusing to follow the action on closeups. So, in order to get a cleaner silhouette of the Cap, they had to go back and sneakily do things like blur areas and add more atmosphere to make the Caps pop out more.
For the Cap fighting the Cap, they filmed actor Chris Evans fighting a stunt double and had VFX company Lola track Evans’ face onto the stunt double’s face.
And finally, for the portals scene in the final battle, before Tony Stark does the whole switcheroo with the infinity stones, showing them off like engagement rings,
Weta Digital’s digital matte painting department created completely CG environments and compiled multiple passes that were each rendered through their respective portals with the same camera movement in order to key together and parallax in this incredible scene.
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