Black Widow VFX Supervisors Reveal Toughest Scenes to Make

Black Widow hit theaters and Disney+ in 2021, the first Marvel Studios movie to arrive since 2019's Spider-Man: Far From Home. As with pretty much every Marvel Studios release, the film had its fair share of death-defying stunts, requiring lots of visual effects added in post-production. had the opportunity to chat with David Hoggins, a VFX supervisor at Digital Domain, and Craig Hammack, VFX supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic, who both worked on the film. We asked the artists which of Black Widow's many effects shots and sequences proved to be the most challenging for them and their teams. 

"I'm always amazed when I see the Red Room," Hoggins says. "That was something, from a technical standpoint it was challenging, just to get that much stuff on screen and get it all to render quickly, and the guys did a really good job. They basically did an instancing system and the way they did that, we could translate across to a different package called Houdini, basically procedurally with a script."

Hoggins continues, "It's hard to pick one. The skydiving sequence, because of the animation, because it was super challenging to kind of ground it in physics or try and make it look believable. And the previous team had given us really solid, almost shot for shot, we almost matched them, but then you get into it and it's just the physics of it slightly changed. So then you're just trying to capture the same spirit of the previous, but now you have all these lighting cues and visual cues of where you are and how fast you're falling, just trying to make it all work and feel the same.:

Hammock chimes in, saying "The challenging thing there, it's not an overly technical thing, but it's just the balance of everything going on. And the fact that there's this atmosphere and particulate through the room that has to get this red projection scattered through it. And you have to still understand the depth of the room and the action of the fight. And every shot becomes this artistic endeavor with this understanding of, you have to understand the story, you have to understand who's fighting who, and there's this beautiful choreography going on that you can't obliterate. So it's a real balancing act, and it's something that became very satisfying to work through and get this kind of beautiful imagery on the screen."

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