DNEG, Weta Digital, Method Studios & Framestore worked on Visual Effects for Deadpool 2. Mike Brazelton lead as VFX Supervisor & Anton Agerbo as VFX Producer at DNEG. Dan Glass lead as Over all VFX Supervisor for the movie. It was around 1562 shots in the movie. Weta Digital did the animation of Deadpool’s face and mask, just as they had on the Deadpool film.
As the key VFX vendor on Deadpool 2, DNEG delivered shots that spanned challenging sequences from the opening to the finale of the movie. The scope of work encompassed every trick in the book; green screen comps, environment work, FX, animation and digidoubles, Cable’s cyborg enhancements, his look development and his hologram technology and massive full CG shots. Our mission was to take everything we know, and do it better.
This was a truly global show, managed from DNEG Vancouver and calling on the talents of our artists from around the world. The movie is a showcase of the broad range of visual effects and depth of talent available across DNEG’s global studios
Creative team at Framestore delivered 229 shots for the feature, leading work on the two main CG characters of the piece, Colossus and Juggernaut, as well as providing superhero VFX and animation work. The CG finale sequence is the crown jewel of the piece, with 120 shots of predominantly full CG.
Deadpool fans will be pleased to see the character Juggernaut realised in the film. ‘We got to see one frame of the Juggernaut in the trailer’, says Stephane Nazé, VFX Supervisor, ‘And that was a deliberate choice, to get fans questioning what he was going to look like and how big a role he was going to play.’ Framestore’s Art Department worked on some initial concepts for the character which had been previously portrayed in several films and comics. A key challenge was the sense of scale. The Juggernaut is portrayed as a huge, unstoppable force, which impacted how the animation was treated. ‘We gave him a delayed speed-up into action, but once he’s in motion he’s surprisingly fast’, says Bernd Angerer, Animation Supervisor. ‘Working out the insane power of his punches in the final battle was a fun challenge.’
Colossus appeared throughout the first film, Deadpool, charming the audience with his kindness and compassion. He is able to transform his body tissue into an organic, steel-like substance that grants him superhuman strength. Framestore artists were given the chance to adapt him for the sequel. ‘With Colossus we wanted to keep the face from the first movie, but we changed everything else about him’, says Nazé. The team recreated him as fully CG with each line between his muscles splitting the geometry. A lot of time was taken to focus on the rigging and muscle deformation. ‘We used the gaps between the lines to compress the different volumes to help with the rigidity’, explains Nazé.
Animating a large, solid and rigid character was quite a challenge; ‘We experimented with everything: from more natural human behaviour through to very stiff, almost statuesque poses’, says Angerer. ‘Eventually we struck a good balance between him being a tall, tense authority that barely moves, in some moments, and a fierce, athletic fighter with a surprising range of motion and expressiveness in others.’
The team was able to flex its creative muscles in the build of a high-res digi double of Deadpool, who can regenerate damaged or destroyed areas of his cellular structure at a rate far greater than that of an ordinary human – a frustrating fact for the Juggernaut, who tries to kill Deadpool by tearing him in half. With the inside of Deadpool’s torso laid bare for all to see, the team had to use trial and error to get the look of the sequence right, with the assets and FX departments dealing with the entrails and gore, and Creature FX artists focusing on the cloth simulation of Deadpool’s clothing. ‘It had to be impactful and gross out the audience’, says Ben Magana, CG Supervisor, ‘But we didn’t want to push that too far. It was a case of making it look over-the-top, so that it didn’t seem too “real” to the audience, whilst still being very funny.’
Framestore had the daunting task of tackling the epic finale to the film: a huge battle between the hero characters. ‘Deadpool actually says “Big CG fight coming”’, says Magana. ‘We thought, OK, the audience expects something big now – we have to deliver it!’ The last act became a mostly CG sequence, with a tight timeframe for shot delivery. ‘It was quite a challenge, but a fun one’, says Nazé. ‘The team had so much passion and so many ideas for the sequence.’ A hospital was used as the environment in plates shot on set, but the decision was quickly made to build a CG environment to better interact with the huge amount of action taking place. The team got to work creating the main building, surrounded by trees, a swimming pool, gymnasium, and playground in CG. Digidoubles of characters, including Deadpool, Cable, Domino and Negasonic, were used at key moments. In addition, there is a large, sweeping fire raging; ‘we defined several stages of fire and smoke and then we created a 3D setup that we could populate into the shots and update easily’ says Romain Rico, Compositing Supervisor. ‘The client also wanted to feel the night was coming, so we had to play with the light, starting with a late afternoon mood and ending at night which was a big compositing and look-dev challenge.’
Wisecracking mercenary Deadpool assembles a team of mutants to protect a boy from the all-powerful Cable in this R-rated sequel. Method was tapped to create about 300 VFX shots, kicking off with a high-energy montage of various baddies getting their comeuppance. Method artists provided stylized gore and seamless compositing for the journey across criminal hotspots that include a bathhouse, strip club, meth lab and mob boss funeral. They also created performance-driven shots with Colossus in the X-Mansion. Method also created the opening and main on end title sequences for the film
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