Computer Graphics World

May / June 2015

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m ay . j u n e 2 0 1 5 c g w 2 7 fight, and the early tie-in shot." Ramirez explains that the studio was involved in so many areas of the film, "we had part of our team designing one of the action sequences, like the Hulkbuster sequence, with a few artists animating that, and we also had a virtual production team, led by Casey Schatz, that helped scout and rapidly proto- type scenes using previs, motion capture, and techvis viewed within a virtual camera system. Once the filmmakers found a location or had a design they wanted to construct, the previs team created that location in CG. Then, at their convenience, the director, cinematographer, or any department was able to come in and hold the virtual camera, and basically do a virtual scout and walk around the sets and explore camera angles." According to Ramirez, Sec- ond Unit Director John Mahaffie used the virtual set heavily, spending hours with the virtual camera to explore different parts of the set, rehearse scenes and stunts, and view them from different camera an- gles. "Once he was on location, he knew that set like the back of his hand," says Ramirez. P O S T V I S As soon The Third Floor team received the plates for the Hulk- buster sequence, they began integrating previs CG character versions. "It was important for that sequence because it's all CG action," he explains. "Aer they shot empty background plates based off the previs, we would track the plates and then try to use the animation they liked from the previs and place it onto those plates," explains Ramirez. "And that's kind of the postvis process we did through- out the entire film." Ramirez points out that for a scene such as the "party fight" in the Avengers Tower, where the characters are running away from Iron Guard legionnaires firing at them, "we comp'd in our CG Iron Guards in the background, and this process helped Joss take a look at the sequence, edit it, and tighten it up. And the end result was that anyone in production could see the sequence and understand where it was going. It was help- ful for the editor and helpful for the VFX vendors." The Third Floor's biggest challenge, Ramirez says, was the film's early tie-in shot, where, "in one continuous camera move, we go from each character. We spent extensive time on this shot. We worked on the previs, and then we broke down the shot and took it into techvis and calculated the camera moves. Once they shot the plates, the next step for us was the postvis, which was also challenging because we had to take all these plates and try to combine them into one continu- ous shot. They really finessed the shot until they got it to exactly where they wanted it, so when we passed this off to ILM, they knew almost exactly what Joss was looking for." With a film like Avengers, "previs becomes so powerful because we're helping to make a lot of the decisions. And I mean, Joss, the editors, and the VFX supervisors used previs for showing all the departments, including the visual effects studios, this is a vision we like," explains Ramirez. "With such a tight schedule and a film of this magnitude, there's not a lot of time for the visual effects studios to get these shots done. It was important that when we passed off [the work] to the vi- sual effects studios, it was close to what everyone was looking for and expecting." In Age of Ultron, it took a team of superheroes to over- come the odds and get the job done. The same can be said of the teams that worked on the feature film. ■ AT TOP IS A PREVIS FRAME FROM THE THIRD FLOOR OF THE EARLY TIE-IN SHOT. AT BOTTOM IS THE FINAL FRAME FROM THE FIGHT. THE SCENE REQUIRED COORDINATION THROUGH PREVIS, CAMERA MAPPING, DETAILED SET PLANNING, AND POSTVIS TO HELP EXECUTE THE SHOOT AND EFFECTS. Linda Romanello ( is the managing editor and Marc Lous ( is senior editor/director of Web content at Post Magazine, CGW's sister publication. VIDEO AND Q&A ON THE STEREO 3D: GO TO EXTRAS IN THE MAY.JUNE 2015 ISSUE BOX. C G W. C O M

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