ILM has rebuilt helicarrier for Captain America: The winter soldier, which also happens to be the biggest model in company’s history.
A political conspiracy thriller directed by Anthony and Joe Russo is all about the next –gen helicarriers in terms of VFX. It is an ultimate weapon that can stay up in orbit and kill million victims at once.
“The vitality of the franchise is dependent on pushing it in new areas and finding something fresh to bring to audiences and surprise them,” suggests Anthony Russo. “We knew that we were going to do that with this movie by putting it in the political drama and perhaps by doing it in a more grounded, real world version of what a superhero movie can be.”
Initially ILM had decided to do a slight upgrade on the helicarrier from the Avengers, but the scope and demand of the sequel led to complete rebuild of helicarrier. Hence this CG model became largest in ILM history.
The helicarrier is about a quarter larger than its predecessor: 1,400-feet-long, and designed with more powerful Phalanx guns (14 scattered around the deck with 70-foot barrels and 2-foot shells) along with a nifty surveillance dome. It’s like a modern version of a broadside pirate ship, only they replaced the turbines with a more powerful Stark Repulsor engine.
According to the story in The Avengers, Tony Stark was so tired of getting roughed up that he offered his tech to S.H.I.E.L.D. It has got big guns, the super weapon and surveillance hub beneath the belly.
Collaborating with ILM for Visual Effects was a dream come true for the director Joe Russo. The director who was impressed with the ILM’s work for Star Wars said “ They are still good at what they do and they wanted the VFX to look as realistic as possible.
Previs was done by PROOF . They went through the progression of where they are in space and damage inflicted. Chaos and destruction was tracked internally and mapped everything out on spreadsheet.
The new helicarriers are massive in size and very much detailed. The most challenging part was getting the dome to sit in the carrier so that it didn’t appear big. Another challenge was to design the gun in such a way that it looked massive and armored. The modeling was done under the supervision of Bruce Holcomb.
In terms of software, ILM used Maya and its proprietary Zeno package for camera blocking and rough layout along with Katana for lighting and, for the first time, V-Ray for Katana, for better integration of high complexity shots in the pipeline. The VFX powerhouse also used V-Ray for 3ds Max for environments. The proprietary Flip solver came in handy for water shots and the Plume package for effects sim. Thinking particles in 3ds Max was additionally used for building destruction shots.