Getting Animated Over The Avengers
Method Design in LA created the titles (main on end) for The Avengers. Steve Viola, creative director, states, "This piece was a 2 minute self-contained main on end sequence created entirely in CG. For each of the shots in the sequence we designed, modeled, textured, and lit all of the environments and many of the foreground objects. We received assets from Marvel to include in the piece, then heavily re-modeled and re-surfaced them to create a post-battle macro sequence. We also designed a custom typeface for the Main Title ‘The Avengers’ as well as 30 credits set in-scene.”
He adds, "Many of the shots in the piece employ complex transitions that proved very difficult with varying lenses, scene depths, and text positioned in stereoscopic depth. The most difficult shot to execute was the final transition to a space-scape created by Digital Domain. We had to work back and forth with Digital Domain and Marvel to seamlessly tie our tight macro camera into their extreme-wide shot. Not only did it prove difficult to dial-in depth and perspective in stereoscopic, but it was also a very important connection that had to be choreographed with other FX timing and music cues so that it was perfectly seamless.” Tools used for the titles included Maya, Mental Ray, VRay, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Nuke, zBrush, Boujou, Final Cut Pro, Rush Render Queue, Qube and Fontographer.
"We set out to create a beautifully realistic macro sequence, featuring the battle scars of our heroes. The intense battle sequences of the film have put these characters through a war, and we needed to reflect that in a new way. The flowing camera moves through our scenes as it investigates the damage and toll it took on our heroes. The minute attention to detail, mixed with the macro rendering and stereoscopic compositing were all combined to dramatic effect and required the latest in technologies to execute," he concludes.
Bill Desowitz is former senior editor of AWN and VFXWorld. He's the owner of the Immersed in Movies blog (www.billdesowitz.com), a regular contributor to Thompson on Hollywood at Indiewire and author of the forthcoming James Bond Unmasked (Spies), which chronicles the 50-year evolution of 007 on screen and features interviews with all six actors.