SANTA MONICA — Luma Pictures (www.lumapictures.com), which created visual effects for the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, including the powerhouse villain Thanos, returned to work on the franchise’s follow up, creating VFX for the end tag of the film. The sequence features the entrancing Sovereign world, led by the ruthless high priestess Ayesha. The team created a stunning fully-CG environment, which included hundreds of animated humans in blue and luminous gold pods.
“The overall look of the set was roughly designed in a couple of concept images and previs sent to us by Marvel,” explains VFX supervisor Jared Simeth. “Our approach was to first rough out everything in terms of layout and then move on to adding all the modeling and look dev details.”
Luma also created Adam Warlock’s giant technological cocoon, after receiving 3D concept art from Marvel. The team added to the original concept with special details, such as the long cables ejecting out of the cocoon and FX elements around the head. Luma was responsible for lighting the beautiful and reflective chamber to create a dramatic and illustrious environment fit for the Sovereign world. The gold chamber and the extravagant crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling created reflective surfaces, which provided a great technical challenge for the team in their attempt to get clean renders.
“It came down to every trick in the book,” says Simeth. “From splitting out different elements of the chamber and rendering separately with pre-rendered HDRIs, to compositing tricks such as frame blending and projections.”
The team also touched up the live action characters to perfect their illustrious gold skin in order to achieve the exotic humanoid alien look, including the high priestess, played by Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki. These live action characters then had to be composited over the full CG environment created by Luma.
The result is a visually stunning gold encrusted chamber that truly looks a part of a distant cosmic universe. Luma’s other Marvel work includes contributions to Doctor Strange, Deadpool, and Captain America: Civil War.