Shang-Chi VFX Boss Breaks Down Beautiful Water Map Sequence

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings introduced Marvel fans to an entirely new corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that hadn't previously been explored by the franchise. As such, long-time Marvel visual effects supervisor Chris Townsend had his work cut out for him when it came to working with the studio's VFX vendors. In one example, Townsend worked with Sean Walker and his team at Weta Digital to get the models just right on both the Great Protector Dragon and the Dweller-in-Darkness.

Another moment fans of the flick can't stop talking about is a beautiful sequence that unfolded when Wenwu (Tony Leung) happened to unlock the map to the mystical city of Ta Lo. As Townsend tells us, he wanted to make sure Marvel did nothing that's ever been done before for the moment.

"We were trying to come up with something unique and sort of aesthetically sympathetic to the film. Water was a key feature in the film in terms of the village of Ta Lo that we end up into this mythical place. It's a lakeside village. There's a water dragon. There's a dragon that uses water. The water is an elemental force of beauty, and gentle nature, and all this kind of stuff. So it became a good touch point and so I wanted to try and use water in a way that we could try and use that to help describe the moment and just to reveal the map," Townsend says.

The filmmaker then says he put his head together with Shang-Chi helmer Destin Daniel Cretton and production designer Sue Chan on what they could do.

"We were sort of brainstorming and sort of coming up with this idea of like, "Well, how about if we can somehow have water flowing out of something as a waterfall or something?" And then I said, "Well, rather than it flowing out, how about it just emanates out from the walls of this beautifully carved set," he adds.

The sequence in question was designed by the Sydney-based Fin Design, who worked on just these shots for the film. According to Townsend, it took over a year to get this sequence done just right.

Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and produced by Kevin Feige and Jonathan Schwartz, with Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso, and Charles Newirth serving as executive producers. David Callaham & Destin Daniel Cretton & Andrew Lanham wrote the screenplay for the film, which is now in theaters.


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