VFX Story: ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ VFX Breakdown and Interview with Luma Pictures

Check out mind blowing VFX breakdown and behind the scenes of Marvel’s Ant-Man and The Wasp.


vfx breakdown ant man and the wasp

The Virtual Assist thanks Kevin Souls, LA VFX Supervisor of Luma Pictures for following exclusive interview. Apart from technical details, go through various before after images of the movie.

How do you balance director’s vision when creating VFX for any movie?

Our goal is to always exceed the directors expectations, and to do that we rely on a mixture of art direction and intuition. Marvel movies are always fast paced, and it requires us to sometimes extrapolate from the notes and predict what the director will want. You always have to design your setups with the maximum amount of flexibility, so you can turn on a dime when the story requires it.

What were the most technical challenging CGI and VFX sequences of ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’? How did your team overcome it?

Each sequence presented different technical challenges, so I wouldn’t say that any was more technically challenging than the others, but The “Flashback” sequence had the largest scope of work, requiring a full cg environment to be built matching to a real set. Additionally, we had to develop the Quantum Tunnel effects, which would eventually reach critical mass, and destroy the building, both inside and out.

Going in, we knew all the parameters of the effects needs, so we tried to spread the work out across departments to solve the different problems. First off the asset team was tasked with creating an asset that would look photoreal but have all the technical requirements that the FX department would need for the destruction, even art directing the broken pieces of the wall. Next, the animation took ownership of the Quantum Tunnel animation and destruction, knowing that we could achieve all of the shaking and collapse with rigging, blend shape and animation. With those parts tasked out, FX was free to develop the Tunnel FX, volumetrics, and the destruction simulations. Finally, composite and lighting was called in to develop the final look of the tunnel and pull all the elements together.

The niche VFX of Ant-Man lays in complexity details when he shrinks. How did you achieve seamless work of various perspective shots with accurate depth measurements?

Without a doubt, you need to start with a real camera and real lensing. It’s incredible how sensitive we are to field of view and scale. When something is wrong, people can just tell. So it was important to us that the camera speed and motion be accurate to the scale of Ant-Man. Next, we would layer in levels of detail to the assets and textures, adding geometric features that would hold up to scrutiny at close distance. The lighting also plays a huge role in depicting the scale of a scene, with the softness and fall off of the shadows needing to be precise. Finally, carefully utilizing Depth of Field to guide the eye, and add that photographic feel, is absolutely essential.

How did you manage tight integration of post-production pipeline between your physically separated studios?

Our two facilities share the same pipeline for all departments. So while we don’t have live parity of renders and setups, we can easily sync something back and forth between the locations and get the exact same result. This makes sharing super easy and, with the time difference, is like having a 24 hour facility – one just picks up where the other leaves off.

How did Marvel zero in on Luma Pictures for generating astonishing VFX for ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’?

We have a long time relationship with Marvel, and were a big part of VFX in the first Ant-Man. They also know us as a creative team that can iterate quickly to find solutions, and for this movie we had a whole new set of challenges.

Let us know about the core team of Luma Pictures who worked on ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’.

I was the VFX supervisor in Los Angeles. Brendan Seals was the VFX supervisor in Melbourne. Alex Cancado is the CG Supervisor in LA and Andrew Zink is the CG supervisor in Melbourne. Raphael Pimentel is the overall Animation Supervisor. Additionally, we had a crew of over 100 production and support staff spread across Los Angeles and Melbourne.

ant man and the wasp together

Luma Pictures supervisors shoot some sequences of the movie. Let us know in detail about it, on-shoot and post production both.

Jamie Hallett assisted Stephane Ceretti with supervision for Principle Photography in Atlanta, providing texture acquisition and production data. I assisted Jesse James with the Additional Photography and reshoots back here in Los Angeles.

Any upcoming projects of Luma Pictures or other details you can share?

We’ve just wrapped on Mary Poppins Returns and currently working on The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and Captain Marvel.

What changes did you make in ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ from the inception part ‘Ant-Man’ (2015), in terms of VFX and related?

The Missile was ingested and converted from the first film, then we added geometric detail and enhanced textures to serve the staging of the new shots. Volumetrics and blowing leaves were added to give a sense of scale and force.

And the biggest question – what do you know about ‘Infinity War 2’ 😉 😉 😉 ?

We don’t know anything about it…yet.

For more details, go through official page of Luma Pictures.

Check out video compilation of VFX breakdown and before after images of Ant-Man and the Wasp.

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