Raising the VFX Hammer for Thor
"The biggest challenge was the environment of Jotunheim," Port explains. "There was a lot of back and forth design wise about getting that balance between rock and ice so that it's not a pure white environment, and getting the architecture to look decayed enough so that you still see the remnants of a once great civilization. But we ended up creating quite a few buildings and because we're seeing it in a prologue sequence as well, where it looks pristine, we had to make all those buildings in a few different variations."
As far as the Frost Giants, they had to match the look of the live-action characters shot on set whose costumes were designed by Legacy. "Marvel wanted to extend that out and push the limits of the anatomy, making it a little less human," Port continues. "Our base Frost Giant was around nine-feet-tall. And we created 12 base models to mix and match in combination with the live-action Frost Giants, and that worked well having hundreds of these guys running around.
The third realm, Midgard (Earth), is depicted as present-day New Mexico, where Thor is banished. This is where they did the least amount of augmentation with vfx. "Here the visual effects had to be as seamless and realistic as possible," states Sewell. "This is the realm we all know and, for this bit of cinema, we have to believe that Thor is really here. We were inspired by Edward Hopper and the comic book art of Oliver Coipel. Most of the visual effects [here] were done by Luma Pictures, supervised by Vince Cirelli, including the awesome Destroyer straight from the Marvel comic books. "
Luma used reference movies of rocket engines from JPL as inspiration for Destroyer's energy beam as though he's charging up, before firing. The blast and internal energy were created using a mixture of high velocity fluid simulations and dense particle renders driven by geometry.