MONTREAL — Folks VFX (https://folksvfx.com) provided visual effects services for the Marvel feature Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which was released on February 17th. The film follows Ant-Man and the Wasp as they explore the Quantum Realm, interact with strange new creatures and partake in adventures that push their limits beyond what they thought was possible. The movie stars Paul Rudd, Jonathan Majors and Kathryn Newton.
Phil Prates served as VFX supervisor for Folks VFX, which handled significant work on Ant-Man's suit. The studio was responsible for suit replacement, as many of the stunt sequences didn’t allow the actors to perform in full costume. The team was also tasked with creating Kang's final faceoff with Ant-Man in the Celestium, a 360-degree interior environment. The sequence was created using more than 120 shots, with the team extending the practical stage to complete the set and transporting it into Chronopolis with another 360-degree exterior environment. They also added smoke, debris and damage throughout the Celestium. Folks VFX was also responsible for a large CG portal in the center of the Celestium, as well as digital assets for Ant-man, Wasp, Kang and Quantumnauts.
Phil Prates recently shared insight into the studio’s work, answering a number of questions for Post.
Phil, can you go into detail on the work you and your team did on the movie?
“We were responsible for the ending showdown between Ant-Man and Kang in the Celestium. We extended the practical set interiors with a digital equivalent, as well as added in the exterior environment of Chronopolis in over 125 shots. We also did suit replacements for Ant-Man, Kang and the Wasp, as well as replacement heads for the Quantumnaut and the Quantumnaut Tech characters and the main portal.”
Which sequence took the longest to complete?
“All our work was contained to the ending battle sequence, but the post-explosion damaged Celestium shots had a lot more smoke and debris across the environment that needed to be added in and augmented. In addition, there was the portal in the center of the stage, so these shots took much longer than the standard Celestium extension.”
Do you have a favorite sequence?
“I really enjoyed working on the first attempt that Kang makes to dive into the portal. It begins with Ant-Man and Kang facing off, looking at the one way out, then escalating into a main face-off between the two characters. We got to do a little bit of everything on these shots. We had the portal, the environment, suit replacements and full CG character takeovers. We got to reanimate and extend actions of diving and to tackle, as well as the Ant-Man face stomp and helmet-damage moment. It is a small beat in the middle of the battle, but has such a great set of effects all together.”
How does the Folks VFX team collaborate?
“This movie had VFX that landed in every department. We really relied on each other, and even developed great systems for clean handoff from each artist. We also have weekly department catch-ups to ensure the latest tech and tools are in the hands of the people needing them to get the shots across the line.”
How do you go about the research process for a big project like this?
“Usually, it starts with getting a good idea of the client's vision and reference material. We then go into look-dev and get the concept still put together for effects and looks before jumping into asset and setup builds. We always make sure to setup something that will allow us to have a consistent look across the whole sequence.”
What were some of the challenges you faced on this project?
“The enemy of VFX is time, and this project was no different. We worked right up to the last possible moment to ensure the best quality images were in the final product. With this project, we used a lot of handoff and setup automation to help us achieve it in the given timeline.”
What else can you share about your work on the movie?
“I think a lot of people think of VFX as the in-your-face plasma beams and shields, and it is. We do a lot of visible VFX that you notice that helps tell the story, like the portal, but this show’s a lot of invisible effects as well. When doing stunts, the actor sometimes would be restricted and needed to remove part of the armor to achieve the required movements, and we then added back the one-to-one digital equivalent suit back on.”