Rebooting a More Organic Spider-Man
Additionally, Webb wanted to see the right mechanical set up to swing a guy above a street and have him go from one line, shoot his web and then reach for another. He wanted it to look convincing so they built it. "There's an early scene where he swings underneath an elevator bridge trying to escape from the police," Chen explains. "Seventy-five percent is done practically as a wire stunt, and you get a really interesting texture to the movement. It was a combination of fluid with a staccato beat in the middle and then back to fluid. Our animators really studied that and tried to emulate it. If you're 100-200 feet off the ground, you have much more momentum but you're still taking your cues from how gravity affected him earlier.
"As he reaches the end of his swing, he has to let go and find another place to web, hook onto the web and then swing again and begin his descent. So there's going to be a pattern and a rhythm rather than one continuous motion. Spidey has to make his next pick point. We wanted to see where he was shooting and then see where the web actually hits. It was an interesting issue of observing him making these split second decisions. It becomes a limitation during the climax when there are no pick points. So he needs help to give him a clear path."
In order to create this new look, it required not only hand-crafted animation, which is entirely key-framed, but also state of the art rendering and then making sure that the digital version of New York at night blended with anything photographed.
"The city was a huge undertaking and in some ways more challenging than anything else along with the movement of Spider-Man," Chen observes. "The climactic sequence is nearly all CG as well as the swinging scene down 7th Avenue. Those took almost a year and nearly 300 shots to complete because of the complexity of the rendering and making sure that the stereo flowed well. It took a lot of iterations to get right. It becomes more subjective."