A rookie Spider-Man goes out and about in the neighbourhood on his first adventure trying to stop petty crime: he’s clumsy, slightly awkward and flies from location to location leaving situations worse off than he found them. Luma created and animated a full CG Spider-Man, keeping in line with the comedic undertone. The lighting team created eight different light rigs to match all the different environments that Spider-Man swings through: the team utilized on set lidar, location captured HDRIs, plate photography and on set reference photography as the foundation. Lighters had to refine on a shot-by-shot basis to craft ‘beauty lighting’ to further enhance and integrate the digital elements into the plates. Of course, throughout execution it was absolutely necessary to achieve a photo-real look.
Spider-Man suits up and heads into the city looking to fight crime, where he spots four robbers wearing Avengers masks breaking into an ATM using alien technology weapons. Luma received plate photography with stunt performances captured in camera, but it was up to the Luma crew to build upon what was filmed and help editorial drive the sequence for continuity and dramatic effect. The crew did everything from painting out wrinkles on Spider-Man’s suit, to augmenting Spider-Man’s plate performance, to adding fully CG fabricated shots.
A full CG Spider-Man was created and animated for various stunts that couldn’t be practically performed. Animation Supervisor Raphael A. Pimentel went on set for the ATM motion capture shoot with Jon Watts and Janek Sirrs while they directed Tom Holland’s performance, and the client also provided Luma with solid previs, which gave the animation team a good gauge of how the sequence should play out. The pace of the ATM sequence is incredibly fast and the underlying tone is comical, so staying on beat was key for the animation team.
Luma created CG weaponry including the gravity gun, shot gun and Spider-Man’s webbing. Concept Artist Nicolas Pierquin developed the concept and worked with CG Supervisor Andrew Zink and VFX Supervisor Brendan Seals on the conceptualization process. The aim was to create a rudimentary and alien-like weapon with parts that looked as if they were taken from a junkyard. The CG model had articulated arms that move and react to the energy that the FX department created. The FX was designed and executed in Houdini, and involved particles being admitted and attracted towards the target, whether that be Spider-Man or the ATM. The team drew inspiration from Aurora Borealis for the wispy fluid movement of vibrant colours.
The ATM boxes are knocked over and one of the thieves points the gravity gun at Spider-Man, which causes all the money next to him to get attracted as well. Marvel wanted this scene to have a comical element, and what ensues is a bit of a tongue and cheek action with wide angle shots that make it look like a fishbowl of swirling money. Luma’s FX team created hundreds of twenty dollar bills varying from crispy clean, wrinkled and dirty bills.
Fun fact: on average, each shot had a total value of $2,000 flying around—cha-ching!