Computer Graphics World

May/June 2014

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C G W M ay / Ju n e 2 014 ■ 7 VIDEO: Go to "Extras" in the May/June 2014 issue box .com .com ©2013 COLUMBIA PICTURES INDUSTRIES, INC. W hen audiences last saw the amazing Spider-Man, the young Peter Parker (actor Andrew Garfield) had begun to understand who he is and what he can do. In a moment of pure abandon, he (that is, the digital double of Spider-Man) glides over rooftops and down a long alley. Thanks to Director Marc Webb's vision and the artistry of the Sony Pictures Imageworks crew, it's a solid minute of animation within a continuous camera move. Five years later in Peter Parker's life, the nascent superhero has mastered his powers. He's 20 years old and at the top of his game in Sony Pictures' latest blockbuster, The Amazing Spider-Man 2. "He's a virtuoso of all his talents now," says Visual Effects Supervisor Jerome Chen. The same might be said for the filmmakers who came back to take Spider-Man on another journey. Webb, who reinvigorated the franchise with the 2012 The Amazing Spider-Man, returned for the second film, as did actors Garfield and Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy, Peter's girlfriend) and many artists on the visual effects crew. Imageworks' Chen returned as overall supervisor, as did Animation Supervisor David Schaub and Digital Effects Supervisor David Smith. As is typical these days, the workload increased for this second film, and the time decreased. The crews on The Amazing Spider-Man had 50 weeks for postproduction. This time around, they had 34 weeks. "I marvel at the amount of work artists can do in the amount of time they have now," Chen says, "and that quality can be maintained in these brutally short postproduction schedules. We started shooting in February 2013 and delivered the movie in March 2014. Post started in July. We had a year to do 1,650 shots. And the work was five times more difficult. Well, at least three times. On the first film, we had a single villain and some nighttime shots in New York City. This one has three villains, more use of daytime New York City, and a lot more swinging shots." Superhero Physics Schaub led a team of between 40 and 50 animators, mostly based in Vancouver, who moved the digital Spider-Man and the villains. "Any time Andrew [Garfield] is in the suit performing as an actor, Spider-Man is Andrew," Schaub says. "Once he is in action and doing the physical swinging stunts, all those shots have a digital Spider-Man. There was very little wire work." Although the crew rarely used footage of Garfield or a stunt double on wires, animators studied reference footage of Stunt Actor William Spencer swinging, jumping, and crawling up walls. "Anything that could be done practically is just not extreme enough, but we use it to find cues," Schaub says. "When the web tightens, where does his weight go? What snaps? That helps inform the animators. We always referred to the comic books and made sure Spider-Man hit those iconic ■ ANIMATORS AT IMAGEWORKS gave the digital Spider-Man iconic poses with a purpose, even sculpting muscles specifically to catch highlights.

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