Cinesite joined forces with Marvel Studios to create 215 shots for Avengers: Infinity War, an unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making. Anthony and Joe Russo directed, Dan DeLeeuw was production VFX supervisor and Andrew Morley was Cinesite’s in-house supervisor.
In his quest to obtain one of the Infinity Stones for Thanos, Maw has kidnapped and is torturing Doctor Strange on the deck of the Q ship. Principal photography for the sequence was shot on a partially built set in Atlanta. Cinesite created large sections of the environment in CG, based on concept work and previsualiation geometry provided by Marvel’s art department. Cinesite’s team rebuilt the ship interior using a modular 3D construction, creating an alternative damaged version for later destruction sequences. The environments included the stunning nodule screen; a massive fluid, motion-based screen on the front of the ship showing the exterior celestial environment, complete with infinite stars and galaxies.
However, the most challenging aspect of Cinesite’s work was the creation of Ebony Maw, an important and entirely CG character seen in extreme camera close up. Actor Tom Vaughan-Lawlor’s facial performance was captured using a head rig; this data, combined with set photography and witness-cam footage was used as a guide for the full body animation. The team received artwork and a high-resolution digital sculpt, from which they rebuilt the character.
Further character animation was required for ensuing fight sequences’s loyal cloak!) battle to free Strange, and a later skirmish when they meet with The Guardians. Both Iron Man and Spider-Man, newly transformed in his enhanced “Iron Spider” suit, were entirely computer generated. In dialogue shots where their masks are removed rotomation was key to the successful integration of the actors’ heads with the CG suited bodies.
The fight with the Guardians involved multiple visual effects, from full CG character animation to blast and web effects, CG daggers, Quill’s mask, Mantis’ antennae and damage to the Q ship environment.