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With 2015 definitely having no shortage of big-budget spectacle, Avengers: Age Of Ultron was naturally expected to provide some imagery that would distance itself from the rest of the Hollywood pack. Judge for yourself if the film lived up to its promises, as Wired chats with ILM to give the internet a look at their VFX process.
Wired posted this awesome video showing off the VFX that made Avengers: Age Of Ultron look as brilliant as it did. Say what you will about the film's storytelling abilities, but Joss Whedon's second Avengers flick managed to get one key piece to the puzzle right: it looked absolutely marvelous, and it's all thanks to the ILM wizards and at least two other distinctive – but equally important - visual effects studios.
The coolest part of this scoop is the behind-the-scenes look at what ILM had to do to create living, breathing characters out of Ultron and the Hulk. As Joss Whedon keeps saying, the pressure came not just in creating a winning movie, but in somehow topping what was accomplished in the original Avengers movie. As the ILM clip talks about, facial tracking and experimentation helped both Mark Ruffalo and the creature designers find a way to lace an actual performance into the designs of both Hulk and Ultron. It really is amazing.
But ILM wasn't the only team hard at work on The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Apparently, the Iron Legion themselves must have been so sophisticated of an effects job that they required a team of their own to bring them to life, as the team at the VFX studio Trixter is credited with bringing them to life. Hiring the Trixter team did the trick, as some of the best visuals came from the Iron Legion's existence, in particular the scene from Act I where Tony Stark's drone army enters the Avengers Tower through the top level entrance. Not to mention the scene where Ultron seizes control of the drones, thus crashing the Avengers' party early on, was pretty exciting to watch unfold.
On the more practical side of the VFX magic was Method Studios, whose contributions can be found in a short VFX sizzle reel that is making the rounds online. It's nice to know that even though tons of CGI and other cutting-edge tools are available to visual effects studios like Method Studios, there are still some good, old-fashioned harnesses and green screens in use to make some of the simpler moments more believable. Most importantly, if you're a budding visual effects professional and you want some quick examples of how the effects were created and refined each step of the way on Avengers: Age Of Ultron, then you've got a handy step-by-step look at key sequences in the video's content.
Avengers: Age Of Ultron wouldn't be as awesome of a movie as it was without the effects and wizardry that these fine professionals at the three studios mentioned displayed. So, of course, it's nice to see them get their due in the press when such a huge film manages to become a triumph of visual effects work. Even better would be to see the collective efforts of these studios netting an Academy Award nomination, and even possibly a win, for those who assembled The Avengers.
Avengers: Age Of Ultron is currently in theaters worldwide. Be honest, you've already seen it at least three times, haven't you?