Anthony Mackie's new wings were a big focus of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and the VFX team explained how they moved so well. Weta Digital are Marvel Studios veterans and they helped make those speedy movements look more lifelike. Charles Tait, who is the supervisor for their outfit, spoke to ComicBookMovie about bringing the effect to life. Fans will remember earlier in the series when Sam Wilson used his wings as a shield. We hadn't seen a ton of that in previous Marvel adventures. Tait says that this kind of flexibility was a big point of emphasis for Weta as they worked on the series. Fans seemed to enjoy these high-flying sequences a lot. They made for a nice bit of action that broke up a lot of the hand-to-hand combat that comprised a ton of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
"Yeah; it was not possible really to rig the wings to do that. So it's not like one set of wings that can do all these things. That was going to be just not possible," he began. "So it was really just done by hand, honestly, in animation, taking pieces of the wing geometry, and in models, we took the wings that we had and would kind of deform them and break bits apart and try to create their shield-like shapes."
"It was a very tricky exercise, you can't have the wings bent in half. They shouldn't look like they should be able to do that, but they need to be able to do this performance and act like bulletproof shields. So it was models and animation between them," Tait continued. "The wings weren't specifically rigged, even though I think it looks like they are, it looks like it's supposed to be able to do that, but we didn't make our model able to do that in any context, it's really a per shot thing done by hand, quite painstaking really."
Imageworks' Chris Waegner also discussed their approach with Before and Afters.
Waegner began, "One of the assets that gets revealed in episode six is the new suit and the new wings. Obviously, that needed to be a full digital build as well. And we ended up incorporating a lot of that. It's a new suit, he's learning how to use it. We had a lot of fun animating that new suit and him learning how to use it."
"If you look at the previous incarnations of Falcon's wings, they tend to have more of a military-type style design to them, lots of carbon fibre, lots of hinges that are exposed, things like that. And this new wing design, because it's a new suit, he's becoming Captain Falcon, this is a much more state-of-the-art, carbon fibre weave," he continued. "It's not necessarily scratched up, abused carbon fibre. It's a cleaner brand new suit. And that was something the filmmakers really wanted us to pay attention to. So there's a lot of iterations in design that stemmed or began with some artwork supplied by Marvel."
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