Have you ever wondered what goes into creating the amazing visual effects and backdrops in superhero movies and TV shows like Black Panther and The Flash?
For starters, it's a combination of finding a great location with natural elements, such as trees and hills, and using visual effects to enhance these features to make it come to life and immerse the audience in this fictional world.
Before visual effects artists can work their magic, a series of foundation and creative guidelines need to be laid. Usually the team does research to help them develop the best look for the characters or ecosystem. A great example of this is for the movie Black Panther. In order for artists to create realistic shots of Wakanda, they needed to gather references from different African cultures. Drawing from features like colour, textures, and buildings from these cultures, it allowed the artists to conceptualize and represent Wakanda as the fictional African country in the Marvel Universe. One could say this was done so remarkably that it has led some individuals to believe Wakanda to be a real country.
After setting out the guidelines, digital matte painters play an important role in turning these colours and ideas into a bigger picture. This could translate into a landscape image of an entire mountain range or the city architectures. From here, visual effects are incorporated to further strengthen the realism of the images that have been so carefully crafted by these artists. Many of the visual effects for the Black Panther were done by Method Studios, a VFX studio which has worked on blockbuster Marvel movies like Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of The Galaxy Vol.2. (Note: VANAS is offering a professional development course taught by someone from this studio! Click for more!)
The Flash, a superhero TV show on the CW, also uses a substantial amount of visual effects and CG to bring characters and their powers to life. Despite the limited budget as a TV show, the visual effects team still follows a similar process from researching character costumes in comics to creating concept art to finally utilizing visual effects to make each episode. Visual effects plays a huge role in making iconic moments like the lightning streaks while the Flash runs and different meta-humans that Team Flash has to face appear real. My favourite episode in which visual effects was done exceptional well was in the episode where Team Flash faces Solovar in Gorilla City. A lot of creative planning went into creating the arena in which the flight between human and gorilla took place.