Infinity War behind the scenes

Avengers: Infinity War is loaded with VFX – landscapes, costumes, and even entire characters like Thanos are conjured up via computer effects. If you’ve ever wanted to see what the raw footage, void of post-production effects, might look like, feel free to marvel at the Infinity War behind the scenes video below.

Spoilers ahead if you’re one of the only people who hasn’t seen this yet.

Infinity War Behind The Scenes Video

While some modern digital effects leave a lot to be desired, I was really impressed with the appearance of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. Some of Thanos’ minions looked a bit phony and unrealistic, but Thanos himself was an entirely believable VFX creation. He looked, and moved, like a living, breathing creature, and that’s not easy to pull off.

This behind the scenes video shows how much work goes into creating just one scene in the film. I guess it also should be considered a spoiler, since it features Thanos stabbing Tony Stark…but let’s be honest, you’ve already seen this movie by now. We’re beyond the spoiler zone (don’t @ me). We get shots of actors like Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr. acting in front of green screens, and then we see the early digital renderings that start to insert Thanos and the backgrounds into said scenes. This is followed by the cleaned-up final product. You also get to see Josh Brolin covered in all sorts of motion capture tech. It’s pretty impressive (even if a part of me will always long for a return to the days of practical effects).

Paul Story, the Infinity War animation supervisor, spoke with the Art of VFX about the creation of Thanos:

“Thanos’ design incorporated a lot more of Josh Brolin’s facial features in this film. We were mindful that Digital Domain were also working on Thanos, so both companies would often check in to make sure we had our characters in sync, even though our facial pipelines are quite unique.

For Thanos’ bodybuilder design, we had to make sure someone so sculpted was capable of making the quick and powerful performances needed for our sequences. This involved a full range of motion poses to stress test the detailed muscle and tissue rigging. This ultimately informed animation and the rigging team of the ranges desired and what was achievable. With the muscle detail so visible in Thanos, we needed ways to be able to show his muscles firing from an already inflated state. So specific shapes were created for animation to control, along with the finer details of veins enlarging to help give us the perceivable change in shape needed.”

Story also added:

“Once the base model for Thanos had final buy off from the Russo brothers and Marvel, we built Weta Digital facial puppets of both Josh Brolin and Thanos. These facial rigs are created with hundreds of muscle-based blend shape controls for the animators. Each controller works as though we are firing a specific muscle (or group of muscles) in the face. The shapes are derived from a FACs session of Josh, in which we capture the many face shapes needed to make a comprehensive facial puppet. Many combination shapes are reworked alongside animation tests until we have a solid puppet that keeps all the correct muscle movements intact, while giving the animators as much control as they need to sell a great performance.”

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