We present an exclusive interview to VFX Supervisor Patric Roos of Framestore, a british visual effects company who worked on the visual effects of Avengers: Infinity War. Framestore worked on many project in the past, including Avengers: Age of Ultron, Paddington,Everest, Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Thor: Ragnarok.
How did you get involved with Avengers: Infinity War and for how long have you worked on the movie?
I’ve got a background working on Marvel films before Infinity War and I’m a big fan of the films. I started working on the project in May 2016. Framestore worked on developing the Black Order characters which, Thanos’ henchmen in the film, along with Iron Man’s new suit and the new Spider-Man design. It was a really creative process where we started with the sculpts and designs from Marvel and then developed them together into moving vignettes in order to try find their different styles and characteristics.
Which sequences you worked on the most?
We worked on act one; from the moment Banner crashes into Doctor Strange’s Sanctum in New York, to the Race to Space with Iron Man and Spider-Man stowing away on the Q-Ship.
One of your duties in this movie was to create the characters of the Black Order, Thanos’ lackeys. Would you mind describing to our readers the kind of work you have done? Was it difficult to create “virtual” characters that were supposed to act like they were made out of flesh and bones?
It was an interesting approach for us and I found it very successful. Based on the Marvel Visdev teams sculpts and illustrations we moved quickly into motion studies to evaluate proportions and designs while keeping in mind what the characters behaviors might be. We designed these small action sequences from scratch using illustrated boards that we would cut into animatics to present back to the team at Marvel. It became a platform to further refine their traits and specific requirements. In the end we kept developing Cull Obsidian and Ebony Maw while other vendors continued development on other characters relating to their sequences.
In the movie you have also worked on the new Spider-Man’s suit. A few years ago, Spider-Man already used a similar costume. Did you take into account the comics to create your version? Could you tell us in detail what you have focused on?
IHis new suit is a move away from his suit of previous films: it is made up of singular nanobots which move around his body to form a suit. The manifestation of the suit moving around the character needed to look both organic and mechanical, with new weapons forming from it. The FX team worked on several layers of simulations and components required to make it look like a second skin.
How many Framestore people have worked on this movie? And what kind of tech you have used on this job?
160 artists worked on the film throughout it’s time at Framestore. We use Maya, Arnold, Houdini, Nuke and our own proprietary software that we develop in-house.
Were you given any recommendations by the directors or by the Marvel Studios?
We work extremely closely with the Marvel team and Marvel VFX Supervisor Dan DeLeeuw.
What challenges did you have to overcome while working on this movie?
We were given the opportunity to bring some very dynamic poses to Spider-Man. Part of our brief was to use the original comics as reference and really try to push his animation. However while this excited the animation team we still had to remember that he has the limitations of a human character. Pushing the poses too much would not only cause rigging and modelling issues but would make the character feel too CG.
Most of the team used their own reference and drawings to develop Spider-Man’s animation. We also studied Tom Holland a lot and tried to integrate his unique way of moving. All this together created the character we see in the film.
What are your future projects?
Framestore have worked on the upcoming releases Deadpool 2, Mowgli, Christopher Robin, Mary Poppins Returns and Fantastic Beasts 2.