As worldwide box office for Marvel Studios’ Black Panther sails North of $400M, audiences everywhere are getting a close look at the mythical African nation of Wakanda. Deluxe's Method Studios created the 3,600 square km digital environment, along with suits and digital doubles for Black Panther and Killmonger, and the bulk of the film’s third act battle.
“Looking out from the top of Mount Bashenga, you can see the rich diversity of African landscapes – it looks lush and jungle-like in one direction, and more like the plains and savannah in the other, so we had multiple ecosystems to tackle, but it really drives home the vastness of these shots,” said Method VFX Supervisor Andy Brown. “The environments were extremely detailed and often required a high level of interactivity; for example, in fight scenes we would have CG grass and other elements interacting with both live action and digital double characters.”
Method was also tapped to bring Black Panther’s and Killmonger’s suits to life digitally. Using concepts from Marvel’s lookdev team as a jumping off point, Method’s suits needed to be photoreal and hold up to scrutiny in both action sequences and downtime in Shuri’s lab. In addition to the look of each suit, which incorporate Wakandan glyphs and other unique design elements, the suits have active properties that needed to feel believable.
Additionally, Method was responsible for the bulk of the film’s third act battle between multiple warring factions, ultimately leading to a one-on-one showdown between Black Panther and Killmonger. Method built the Talon Fighter and Dragonflyer aircrafts and created 40 digital doubles plus crowd simulations for the large fight. Given that each faction has unique fighting styles, Method directed motion capture sessions based on input from stunt coordinators to gather a foundation for each style.
Method also contributed design work and effects shots showing the inside of Wakanda’s vibranium mine, the look of Shuri’s lab as well as animating gadgets within, and created CG rhinos, vehicles, and weapons.
Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, and Martin Freeman, is currently in theaters. http://www.marvel.com