Marvel’s Doctor Strange may not have won that coveted Academy Award for Best Visual Effects (though let’s face it, The Jungle Book was pretty damn impressive), but it certainly stood out in a superhero genre generally crammed with boring old energy blasts and overly familiar collapsing buildings. Now, thanks to two FX companies that worked on the film, Framestore and Luma, we can get to grips with the craftmanship and technical wizardry involved in bringing the Dark Dimension and Dormammu to life.
Watching the characters battle through an architect’s acid trip was intense stuff, so it’s fascinating getting a glimpse into the processes used to make it work so well. Each video focuses on one company’s work, paring the film back to its constituent effects elements: first showing us the original footage, then flat-shaded polygons and finally, the fully textured, shaded and effects-laden final shots.
It’s real easy to start taking computer generated effects like this for granted, especially when every other action film features apocalyptic levels of destruction. But there’s something very special about Doctor Strange: the sense that the animators and designers were given free rein to realize their most surreal, bizarre fantasies. Judging by these clips they’re proud of what they’ve achieved, and rightly so.
Framestore are currently wrapping up work on the hotly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and it’s likely that both them and Luma are beavering away on Avengers: Infinity War as well, not to mention putting the finishing touches on a decent proportion of the upcoming slate of Marvel extravaganzas.
We’ll see their work soon enough in those films, but in the meantime, you can remind yourself of how awesome Doctor Strange was (answer, very) on the just-released Blu-Ray.