ILM And Weta VFX Supervisors Discuss Reinventing Iron Man and Hulk for THE AVENGERS

ILM And Weta VFX Supervisors Discuss Reinventing Iron Man and Hulk for THE AVENGERS

ILM And Weta VFX Supervisors Discuss Reinventing Iron Man and Hulk for THE AVENGERS

Revealing new stills & concept art from Marvel's The Avengers hit the jump for a chat with the visual effects supervisors of ILM and Weta, dishing on "tuning up" Hulk, Iron Man & Leviathan

One of many aspects praised about Marvel's The Avengers superhero assembly, which hit theaters today, was the jaw-dropping visual effects, in which multiple high-profile companies contributed to. Industrial Light & Magic and Weta Digital, among them, were tasked to reinvent the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man.

"We really wanted to utilize everything we've developed the last 10 years and make it a pretty spectacular Hulk," says ILM's visual effects supervisor Jeff White. "One of the great design decisions was to incorporate Mark Ruffalo into the look of him. So much of Hulk is based on Ruffalo and his performance, not only in motion capture and on set but down to his eyes, his teeth, and his tongue. We collected a huge amount of data and, thankfully, Mark is just the most agreeable person for the series of trials we put him through. We did many different types of image capture and he did a life cast of his head, hands and feet for us. Every pore and every blemish came from Mark, even his fingerprints. It was great not having to make everything up.

"There's a moment when [Bruce Banner] consciously makes the decision to transform into the Hulk. There's something really powerful about that," White continues. "Our Hulk not only looks really good around the eyes but also has body hair, arm pit hair, nose hair. We knew we were going to have a lot of close-ups, and so it had to be more than just CG skin. We added beard stubble and salt and pepper graying around the temples to match Ruffalo."

Concept art by Charlie Wen

"It's a more believable skin tone green," White says regarding Hulk's saturation. "We kept pulling back on the saturation because he would come out of the box very vibrant. He's got to stand next to the other Avengers and look natural. One of the trickiest aspects was dialing in the sweat level. We wanted him to feel sweaty but not plastic. We utilized beaded sweat (with a lot of breakup) rather than the broader sheens to stay away from the plastic look. The jumping and crashing and environment interaction needed to be believable.

As for Iron Man, "We shared assets back and forth with ILM, but our pipelines are unique and it's hard for other assets to plug into it," says Weta's VFX supervisor, Guy Williams. "But in this case, we got their models and we had to redo the texture spaces because the way we texture maps is different. We use a system called Udim and instead of putting all of our texture spaces from zero to one we lay them out in this very large grid so there are individual zero to one spaces. It allows us to have thousands of maps on a model and not have to do any arbitrary system for defining which spaces go to which maps."

"We're back to a round RT on his chest but the biggest change was giving him a rocket pack. That was a conscious decision by Joss to give Iron Man different poses and not have his hand always as part of the thrust component. We also provided a little extra weaponry with a hand laser and thigh missiles."

Regarding the Leviathan, also being called the Transport, the article suggests it's the armored vehicle that lets off aliens during the New York invasion. "The animation challenge was figuring out how it flies," White explains. "We didn't want it to look like a porpoise and so finding the right speed was tough. If it went too fast, it looked small, but if it moved too slowly, it looked boring. We added electricity crackling down its side and it has heat wash coming from under its wings to stir up the ground."

For the full-length chat with the visual effects supervistors head on over to Animation World Network.

Marvel Studios presents in association with Paramount Pictures “Marvel’s The Avengers”--the super hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel super heroes Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.

Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson, & directed by Joss Whedon from a screenplay by Joss Whedon, “Marvel’s The Avengers” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963 and a comics institution ever since. Prepare yourself for an exciting event movie, packed with action and spectacular special effects, when “Marvel’s The Avengers” assemble on May 4, 2012. The film is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. In addition to "Marvel's The Avengers," Marvel Studios will release a slate of films based on the Marvel characters including "Iron Man 3" on May 3, 2013!; and “Thor 2” on November 15, 2013.

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