How WandaVision's VFX Team Built Westview From the Ground Up
WandaVision has come to pass, gifting fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe nine episodes of [...]
WandaVision has come to pass, gifting fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe nine episodes of cinema-quality television. The series technically spans decades as the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) manipulates the reality around her, allowing Marvel Studios to implement ideas, tones, and concepts it's never touched on before. The series takes place in the fictional town of Westview, New Jersey, and sure — some of the town's set pieces are, in fact, shot on practical sets.
What most might not know, however, is that the establishing shots of the town as a whole are entirely computer-generated. Take the moment Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) have a discussion on the road outside of the town — the shots of the city you see behind them were all crafted by the team at Rodeo FX.
Led by VFX supervisor Julien Hery, the Rodeo FX team — which included over 340 visual effects artists in total — worked on at least 350 shots of WandaVision. The team was largely responsible for building the town of Westview from the ground up, entirely through the use of digital technology.
"That's very interesting, because it's totally different area of visual effects, as you were saying, building those kinds of environments," Hery tells ComicBook.com of the creation of Westview.
As the filmmaker says, it was more strenuous completing work on Westview, because it's using an environment humans deal with on a daily basis. Since superpowers and costumes are fictitious works, artists have more freedom because audiences don't have any real-life experiences to compare the work to. A full town, on the other hand, is subject to much more scrutiny from even the most casual of movie-goers.
"Whereas a town, everybody knows how towns work. We spent a lot of time making it right," the VFX supervisor adds. "There's a lot of tiny details that you won't spot right away but that makes it real, like traffic lights and trash cans."
Rodeo FX's work went even beyond traffic lights and the occasional trash can. The outfit even made sure to spend more than enough time on the smallest of details — such as the curbs around Westview or power lines that run through the town.
"I found that very often it's really tricky to do something everybody is super used to see," says Hery. "Like, let's say the biggest challenge of visual effects would be maybe building a real CG face of a human. It's super tricky because humans are trying to detect a real one as opposed to something not living. It's a bit the same thing with a town. It was definitely very interesting and very challenging. You have to build it the real way, with a real town layout in mind. It has to work as a real town, and then you can film it from every other direction and it should work."
WandaVision is now streaming in its entirety on Disney+.
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