German visual effects studio's highlight reel showcases their work on the new Marvel Studios and Disney+ series, including sonic blast weapons, smashing glass, and various ‘Hard Light’ and ‘embiggen’ effects.
RISE Visual Effects Studio, the award-winning German visual effects studio, has shared with AWN a VFX breakdown reel highlighting their work on Marvel Studios’ Ms. Marvel, now streaming on Disney+. The new series features the MCU’s newest Super Hero, Ms. Marvel, a Muslim American teenager, Kamala Khan, growing up in Jersey City, trying to balance high-school life, her family, and her emerging superpowers. In the series, Khan, an avid gamer, a voracious fan-fiction scribe, and a Super Hero mega fan with an oversized imagination (especially when it comes to Captain Marvel!), feels like she doesn’t fit in at school and sometimes even at home. Suddenly she gets superpowers like the heroes she’s always looked up to. Life gets better with superpowers, right?
Led by VFX Supervisor Stuart Bullen, RISE finalled 201 shots, working from April 2021 to June 2022 with a team of 60 3D and 30 2D artists. The project was the first big show for the studio’s London office, with work also produced by the Munich office.
Noting the breadth of their work on the show, Bullen shares, “We created set extensions for New Jersey; high school set extensions; fight scenes featuring CG weapons and smashing glass; a CG mosque; fire extinguisher smoke that interacts with our sonic blast weapons; a bombardment of softballs being fired at government agents; a block of glass panes that rise out of the floor that contain mystical sand that can illustrate the destructive power of the Noor Dimension; a wall map that comes to life to show how the Noor Dimension overlays ours; a Hard Light zit; and last but definitely not least, Hard Light powers and embiggening effects for Kamala and the more chaotic Hard Light of Kamran’s powers.
Check out their VFX breakdown reel, then read how some of the work was produced – there’s a number of images shared below as well:
According to Bullen, the biggest challenge on the show was to help develop the look of Kamala and Kamran’s Hard Light powers. He explains, “As a power that has a mystical / ethereal quality to it that can also maintain a rigid form, there was a narrow window where the Hard Light needed to look solid with a fine balance of opacity vs. opaqueness while avoiding looking like crystal, so the development of the powers went through many subtle adjustments until we settled on the right balance.”
“The fight scenes on set were carefully choreographed, and so how the Hard Light platforms move around the scenes, and are also used as weapons, was choreographed at Rise,” he continues. “At times we needed Kamala to land on the Hard Light platforms where they absorbed her kinetic energy, so we relied upon swapping out Iman Vellani (Ms. Marvel) for our digi-double to allow for a more natural reaction between the two forms.”
Another exciting task for the RISE team was developing a visual tool for showing how the Noor Dimension world would take over Karachi and then Earth in a scene where Kamala is briefed by Red Dagger. “We settled on glass panes that rise out of the floor and in-between these panes sand rises up to form those worlds,” Bullen shares. “This was the first time that the Noor Dimension has been visually represented in any way in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and so it was our task to image how that should look. A world of light and energy, which as we were representing it through the medium of sand it took some developing to get it just right. It was an FX supervisors dream.”
Ms. Marvel start Iman Vellani stars as Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel. The cast also includes Aramis Knight; Saagar Shaikh; Rish Shah; Zenobia Shroff; Mohan Kapur; Matt Lintz; Yasmeen Fletcher; Laith Nakli; Azhar Usman; Travina Springer; and Nimra Bucha.
Episodes are directed by Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah, Meera Menon and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso and Bisha K. Ali are the executive producers. Co-executive producers for the series are Sana Amanat and Trevor Waterson, and Ali is the head writer.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.