A Battle of Super Witches, the First Glimpse of Chaos Magic and the Debut of Scarlet Witch’s Costume Round Out Film-Grade VFX Work
In the final episode of Marvel Studios’ WandaVision, the super hero Vision (Paul Bettany) faces off against one of the most dangerous enemies he’s ever faced: himself. The battle between the “Red” and “White” Visions was a climactic moment for the show, answering one of its biggest questions in a satisfying way. The battle was not only the culmination of years of planning, it represented a new high-water mark for effects in the world of Marvel TV, courtesy of longtime Marvel Studios collaborators, Digital Domain.
“We’ve been working with Marvel Studios for over a decade, and as soon as we saw the scripts for WandaVision we knew it would be challenging and ambitious, but we were excited to play a key role in it,” said John Fragomeni, global VFX president at Digital Domain. “Marvel Studios stories demand the highest level of quality regardless of medium, so we employed the same pipeline we used on Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame to give audiences a real treat at home.”
Bringing Vision Back to Life, Mostly
Picking up just weeks after the events of Avengers: Endgame, WandaVision begins with mystery: Why are Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision living out their lives as a happily married couple in a sitcom? And how is Vision even alive? Over the course of nine-episodes, the sitcom trope moves from decade to decade, as the real world slowly begins to creep in.
In total, Digital Domain delivered over 350 VFX shots for the streaming series, the bulk of which centered on Vision. The work began with full-body scans of Bettany performing as both the Red and White Vision. New facial captures were then taken to provide high-fidelity models to work from, while keyframe animations were created to form the basis of the models used to create digi-doubles for shots where practical effects weren’t possible.
Along with the body work, scans were taken of the red and white costumes to create topology. High resolution photographs were also taken to build the textures that were then mapped on. This was especially key during the climactic fight, as the two Visions had to withstand close-up scrutiny as they grappled and flew through the sky.
“For WandaVision we had dozens of Digital Domain artists and technicians working across three locations and two countries,” said Marion Spates, visual effects supervisor at Digital Domain. “Each department coordinated with the others to ensure that everything from rigging to animation to cloth was on the same page. That gave us the flexibility to create feature-level effects in a TV timeframe without missing a beat.”