Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Vol. 2 © 2017 Marvel Studios. All images courtesy of Framestore.

6 heroic feats by Framestore in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2"

1,000 VFX shots and CG assets, 104,737 client notes,12,900 tasks, 100,000 submission iterations: Framestore's CG Supervisor, Sylvain Degrotte and VFX Producer, Sophie Carroll break down how they pulled off their heroic work on Marvel blockbuster, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2."

Rocket Racoon flying his ship

Rocket Racoon hero shot from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2


1/ WE FUELED ROCKET'S RETURN

Having helped create Rocket the first time around, Vol. 2 allowed us the chance to refine him with improved animation and a new costume. Rocket had to feel like the same charming, wise-cracking character. Nothing could change. For reference, we used a practical suit, deconstructed the costume’s pattern and then reconstructed the suit in 3D using a tool called Marvelous Designer. We then outfitted Rocket with the suit, making minor tweaks for realism. All of the simulation work for this was done in Maya.

 

Baby Groot hero shot from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Baby Groot in a still from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2


2/ WE REBOOTED BABY GROOT

The sequel called for an all-new look for Baby Groot – expressive, but not too human; a baby, but still an alien; made of wood, but not too old. Using proprietary tools and coding in Maya, we were able to create a more authentic character with a “wooden” feel. The tool conserved the wood-like stiffness in certain areas while stretching to convey expressions in other areas.

 

Spaceship flying in a still from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2


Golden City in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

3/ WE SPUN A GOLDEN CITY

Groot’s opening dance sequence was a huge undertaking. At 4,000 continuous frames, it’s like a mini-movie. The golden city is reflective and true to reality. The moving, cloud-filled sky had to appear as natural as possible, which took a lot of R&D and time to render. There was exactly no room for error with any of it.  

 

Translucent octopus monster (Abilisk) in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 opening scene


Drax's Cut Through It From the Inside scene from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2


4/ WE GOT THE FIGHT JUST RIGHT

The Guardians fight a giant, translucent octopus called the Abilisk. Because you can see through its skin, we needed to develop the internal and external structure and rendered the internal geometry. We R&D’d the interior structure, ran the simulation, then attached the skin on top of everything, developing a new subsurface scattering shader to render the character. We then modified our shader to create a high level of accuracy and realism. And to create the cloth simulations for the costumes and simulate loose fat on skin for the Abilisk, nCloth in Maya definitely came in handy. 

 
Sovereign planet in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Rocket Raccoon, Baby Groom, and Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) flying their ship in a still from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2


5/ WE TAG TEAMED WITH MAYA + ARNOLD

Our team used Maya to model almost everything. Each tool’s layout and multifunctionality, combined with already familiar shortcuts, vastly sped up the time it takes for assets to be modeled. We found the new Quad Draw tool really useful. It allowed us to rework the edge flow of our polygonal meshes without switching between programs. 

The integration of the Mudbox tools into Maya 2017 also allowed us to tweak hero characters on a shot-by-shot basis while looking through the camera’s point of view. It would have been difficult to meet client expectations without this. For displacement and detailing on the models, we used ZBrush, but the base model was always done in Maya. 

We used 2D keyframe animation to animate primary characters like Rocket and Baby Groot, and motion capture for some of the background characters, like the Ravagers. All animation was completed in Maya.

A customized version of Arnold took care of our custom-made shading, lighting, and rendering. We also used our propriety software for lighting and did geometry translations that could be implemented in Arnold.


Rocket Raccoon and Baby Groom in a still from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2


Rocket Raccoon and Yondu (Michael Rooker) in a still from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2


6/ AND WE WRANGLED IT ALL WITH SHOTGUN

We delivered over 1,000 VFX shots and CG assets for Marvel’s "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," working on hero characters like Rocket and Baby Groot. There were 104,737 client notes, 12,900 tasks, and 100,000 submission iterations. Shotgun was instrumental here, helping us to manage scheduling and maintain both internal and client reference notes.  
  


Thanks to Sylvan, Sophie, and the team at Framestore for sharing the story of your super, heroic work! For more on the VFX of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2," head over to Framestore.com.

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Tags
  • M&E Collection
  • Maya
  • Shotgun
  • Arnold
  • Film & VFX
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