Effects Reel

ILM Makes Bid for Best Visual Effects Oscar with 'The Avengers' Effects Reel

Digital Widow and Hulk smash

ILM Avengers Effects Reel
Photo: ILM

ILM released the following 4:44 minute effects reel highlighting their Oscar-nominated work on The Avengers. The accompanying message read:

We are proud to present this video which showcases some of ILM's Oscar nominated effects work for the 2012 hit film, Marvel's The Avengers. This reel represents a small fraction of the work created by over 200 ILM artists, scientists, and engineers backed up by a world class production team. The stop motion animations which open and close the reel were done the old fashioned way - by hand, one frame at a time. They were crafted by ILM's stop motion guru, Erik Dillinger specifically for this reel.

However, as interesting as the video is, equally interesting are some of the comments ILM staffers are leaving to questions asked by YouTube commenters. Here are a few of the exchanges.

Irvin Tustin: Am I correct to assume that in the scene where Hulk chases the Black Widow, the CG version of Scarlett was initially there as a placeholder, but the final version used a composite of Scarlett running in front of a green-screen?

ILM: No. The result you see in the shot is an amalgam of the actress Scarlett Johansson and our digital double as we had to severely alter the lighting used in the live action shoot.

Vlad Bogachov: What software do you use for digital lens flares?

ILM: We have some software we've developed over the years.... nicknamed "Mr. Flare"

moviemaster82: Hey this is so cool! I'm definitely subscribing. What programs do you people use? After Effects? 3DS Max? Cinema 4D? Please tell me, this is pure magic!

ILM: It's a long list but the primary commercial packages would be (in no particular order): Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk Maya, Flame/Inferno and 3D Studio Max and The Foundry's Nuke. Renders include: Pixar Renderman, Solid Angle Arnold, Mental Ray and Brazil.

ohnoeleht: What software did you guys use for the composting? And was the chrome balls in the building scene used to give a more realistic lighting?

ILM:The "chrome" balls you're referring to are graphical representations of the more that 1,800 panospheres we shot to create the textures used in virtually all of the New York shots.

There are even more at the comment thread for the video right here. You can check out the video directly below and see just what everyone is talking about.

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  • D.A.M.

    Very impressive work in my opinion. Should be between this and Life of Pi. The work in this was far more obvious and Life of Pi was subtle, so I am going to assume it will go to Life of Pi. What is your opinion, Brad?

  • The Jackal

    The visual representation of Richard Parker and various other animals required to interact on-screen with Pi was simply phenomenal. Very impressive. Still, the staggering scope of the visuals in The Avengers, in my opinion, will propel it to an Oscar. I'm still a little bummed that The Dark Knight Rises, with all of it's real-time effects, didn't garner a nomination. Prometheus is a strong competitor in this category as well.

    Thems the facts

  • V

    There was another very cool vid uploaded on YouTube by ILM which explored in detail the work done on the long tracking shot of the NYC battle with the Avengers helping each other to take down the alien hordes (the scene which commences after Captain America throws the Black Widow onto one of the alien hovercrafts). Would love to see this take the Oscar, although the Academy may find the effects in Pi more enchanting.