Computer Graphics World

July / August 2016

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52 cgw j u ly . a u g u s t 2 0 1 6 aking a tentpole feature is a monumental undertaking. Ditto that for an epic television series, done on even shorter time. Yet, each year, the bar is raised and productions blaze new ground with even more spectacular stories and scenes. Being able to visualize and plan has be- come essential. Here's a look at how previs teams at The Third Floor, with recent credits including The BFG, Warcra, Captain Amer- ica: Civil War, The Jungle Book, and Game of Thrones, helped meet a range of challenges on some very different projects. F I G H T S A N D F L I G H T S – C A P T A I N A M E R I C A : C I V I L W A R Marvel's Captain America: Civil War (see "Battle Lines," May/June 2016) has all the action you would expect in a superhero movie, with an additional twist: The good guys fight among themselves. Under Previs/ Postvis Supervisor Gerardo Ramirez and Previs Supervisor Austin Bonang, The Third Floor's teams were tapped to help map story flow and technical parameters for the main set pieces and explore ways characters and powers might clash. Of many sequences, the Airport Battle was the most challenging in sheer number of characters and logistics. "Each beat needed a cause and effect, and a way for characters to get from point A to point B," says Bonang. "Working with Visual Effects Supervisor Dan Deleeuw, we built a fictional movie layout for the airport, with assets that could be moved interactively to create the ideal layout for the story the filmmakers needed to tell." The team additionally staged virtual matchups between superheroes. "We would pair them off and try to imagine the best, most different combinations," Bonang says. "How would Falcon fight Giant Man, or Wanda battle Black Panther? How could we get from one fight to the next and switch opponents while keeping the main directive of the two teams intact?" For the "Splash Panel" scene, the previs also had to reflect the motivations of each character. "Black Panther was out for revenge, Vision was trying to calm the situ- ation, Spider-Man wanted to prove himself, and Captain just needed to get Bucky out of there," says Ramirez. "Here, you have a group of superheroes with usually deadly powers – how could you keep the stakes high without it looking like they were actu- ally trying to kill each other?" As this would be the first translation of Black Panther to film, his style of move- ment and fighting was carefully explored. "We did animation tests based on parkour videos, stunt performers, and martial art- ists, and created early concepts for props and vehicles, like the jet," Bonang says. "We tested other characters, too. For Giant Man, we considered how his size might influence his speed of moment. For Spider-Man, the directors wanted the character to be agile but still 'rough around the edges.' For Red Wing and Falcon, we looked at how they launched and flew, and created techvis to support live-plate shooting." Previs models and environments were cre- ated in Autodesk's Maya based on concept art, storyboards, set designs, and location surveys. The previs was animated using mo- tion capture for some of the ground-based action scenes and hand-keyed animation for specific story moments. When filming wrapped, The Third Floor collaborated with the editors to create postvis composites with CG elements and the live plates. TOP PROJECTS LEVERAGE PREVIS TO PUSH NEW BOUNDARIES THE THIRD FLOOR DID EXTENSIVE PREVIS AND POSTVIS FOR COMPLEX ACTION SCENES IN THE LATEST CAPTAIN AMERICA MOVIE, CIVIL WAR.

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