Making Of ‘Bending and Warping New York City’ from Doctor Strange Movie

Making of Doctor Strange is most popular in terms of its highly ‘psychotic’ bending buildings. Check out how ILM achieved this unique VFX masterpiece.


Making of Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange is Marvel’s latest edition in the superhero league of MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). Making of Doctor Strange has set new records in the Animation and VFX industry. Apart from typical greenscreen / bluescreen, rotoscoping, tracking, wire removal, stock footages, 3D camera projection; it had introduced a crazy world of twisting and bending buildings in New York City.

Don’t Miss >> Mind blowing behind the scenes of Doctor Strange


The high octane VFX chase sequence includes Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) and hand full of Zealots. The fight became insane as the real world get shaped into mirror dimension. The continuous transformation creates kaleidoscopic of building, roads, skyscrapers and other surroundings. Fight choreography between bending buildings leaps to one step ahead of Inception movie.

Watch out the snippet of bending building sequence.

To make it near to reality, visual effects supervisor Stephane Ceretti used real shooting plates of the city. In post, they transformed them into bending buildings and composited with chroma shooting of actors. The entire process of this massive VFX sequence worked in three fold structure:

  1. Initial conceptualization at Marvel’s art department
  2. Previs, Postvis and Techvis done at The Third Floor
  3. Final post production at ILM

previs the third floor

bending building warping

The bible for the entire process was works done by M. C. Escher. Escher was the master mind in such techniques. He had done marvelous art work using accurate mathematics, woodcuts, mezzotints and lithographs. Stephane and his team went beyond these with unusual cinematic cameras and surprising movements of actors. The live action shooting was mix of various techniques like milo, crane, on location, on stage, gimbal treadmills, aerial photography and upside down. The principal shooting also took several survey data like LICAR scans, clean plates and photogrammetry elements of New York City. Some of plates were taken in 6K resolution to get the exact texture, reflection and refraction details to use in post production pipeline through 3D camera projection technique. Giant rig of GoPros cameras used heavily for 360 degree shooting of the city 

Creating bending buildings with surreal city warps was one of the massive tasks. It brings out the characteristics of fractal and mandelbrot designs. All these random movements placed strategically altogether along with falling characters ‘inside’ them created one of best visual effects sequence of all time. It is the best part in making of Doctor Strange. This mirror dimension sequence of Yew York city is surely a strong entry for upcoming Oscar Awards.

In the end credits, we see Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) talking with Thor which leads to the upcoming movie titled Thor: Ragnarok.

making of dr strange

behind the scenes doctor strange

ilm doctor strange

mandelbrot new york city

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