If you sat through the end of Black Panther waiting for the post-credits scene, you know how many people it took to bring T’Challa’s world to life. From kinetic energy suits to Wakandan weapons, Marvel’s blockbuster was packed with wonderful visuals.
“It’s amazing—the tools and technology and the artistry that we have available now allows us to really create anything we can imagine,” says Daryl Sawchuk, a visual effects supervisor for Method Studios, one of more than a dozen VFX studios that worked on the film.
And of all the awesome tools and tech in Wakanda, the Black Panther and Killmonger suits were definitely amongst the coolest. Originally, Sawchuk explains, the scenes showing those two in their cat suits were supposed to be mostly live-action, with details like CGI helmets and energy effects added later. But as animators began working on the film they ran into problems making those edits seem real and seamless, so they decided to make full-body replacements—digital doubles integrated into live-action scenes—instead.
That resolved some of the issues, but then created others. Since a lot of Black Panther‘s big fight scenes occur outside, the team at Method, which completed 450 VFX shots for the film, had to constantly factor in how bright the sun was and where it would be hitting each character. It was meticulous work, but Sawchuk says it was essential to create the realism of each shot.
Making the characters fully digital, however, did give the filmmakers the opportunity to tweak and update the costumes. It also allowed them to enhance some of the choreography in the fight scenes, making Black Panther an even better warrior than he already is. “These guys are superheroes,” says Sawchuk. “They’re meant to be performing actions that are bigger and broader than what we’re capable of.”
Find out more about the VFX magic that went into Black Panther, out today on DVD and Blu-ray, in the video above.
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