The Marvel Cinematic Universe has journeyed into multiple dimensions, realms, and planes of existence, requiring massive amounts of visual effects to excite and intrigue audiences. With Ant-Man and the Wasp, artists had the challenge of replicating real-world objects that grew to massive sizes and shrank to a minuscule stature. Visual effects supervisor Francois Dumoulin detailed the many challenges, and exciting opportunities, he faced with the latest MCU film.
"A lot of our effort on the film was focused on Hank Pym’s Lab, and all the sequences of it growing and shrinking. The first time we see it transform from a regular-sized building to a suitcase in a decrepit parking lot was probably my favorite moment; I think the surprise of that bit has really wowed audiences," Dumoulin shared with ComicBook.com. "There were a lot of fun details for us to be mindful of, both in the changes of the building and the way the shrinking would affect the environment. Hands down, the most fun part was animating the stubborn pigeon that decides to stay on the roof of the building, even as it’s shrinking. We are also very proud of the shot in the third act, when Pym’s Lab expands back to full-size on San Francisco’s Pier
One of the tricky elements of the film's visual effects is that a majority of the work was focused on real objects that audiences were familiar with, as opposed to creating fantastical artifacts.
Compared to the first Ant-Man, there are a lot more elements growing and shrinking, beyond just characters. This time we see cars, props, buildings and more, even Pez dispensers shrink down and expand again," Dumoulin detailed. "[Marvel Visual Effects Supervisor] Stephane Ceretti insisted on that all the effects look totally photoreal and grounded."
In some situations, blending practical effects with CGI trickery became too difficult, forcing the filmmakers to adapt the effects.
"In early discussions, director Peyton Reed was playing with the notion that the growing and shrinking of large objects would create a vacuum that would disturb the environment," the artist pointed out. "During the first weeks of shooting in a forest near Atlanta, Georgia, we had a practical effects team on set with a giant air cannon that would shoot debris and leaves in the air when the CG building was shrinking. Unfortunately, the air cannon wasn’t nearly powerful enough to do the effect justice. Right after the first take, Peyton looked at Stephane and me and we agreed that we were going to need visual effects to enhance all the vacuum effects. The scale of the disturbance was just too far large to be achieved practically."
Fans will be able to see Dumoulin and his team at Rodeo FX's work in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Aquaman, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and Dumbo.
Ant-Man and the Wasp
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