Luma Pictures (www.luma.inc), with offices in Santa Monica, CA, and Melbourne, Australia, made a number of visual effects contributions to the Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios blockbuster Spider-Man: No Way Home. The studio created the design for Spider-Man’s new black and gold suit, working alongside the Marvel team, as well as created the entire powerline corridor battle that introduces Electro. The studio also helped create Electro’s new look, which evolved significantly throughout production, as well as provided FX and insight for the character design for Sandman.
Spider-Man: No Way Home received an Oscar nomination for achievement in visual effects. Here, Luma Pictures’ VFX supervisor Brendan Seals discusses some of the studio’s notable contributions.
Can you describe your work on Spider-Man’s inside out, Black and Gold suit?
“We collaborated closely with Marvel to both design and create the Black and Gold Suit. This look was conceptualized and designed by Luma Pictures’ art department in tandem with Marvel’s. We modeled, textured and look-developed it from the ground up with bespoke intricate circuitry, as well as wires, diodes and stitching.
“Our texture artists painted an array of circuit patterns that served as a base for flexibility in the design stage, allowing us to really explore the placement and concentration of copper, silver and gold accents. We also referenced wetsuits and LED clothing so we could model in exposed details, highlighting the suit’s inside-out appearance.
“It was extremely rewarding to conceptualize and then realize this new suit alongside Marvel Studios’ VFX supervisor Kelly Port and the director Jon Watts. We loved working on it.”
How about the powerline corridor battle that introduces Electro, who now has a new look?
“The environment of this powerline battle was a vast landscape we built using references of autumnal, tree-lined corridors in upstate New York. We made a custom library of specific grasses, plants and trees, which we then scattered using Houdini. For bespoke interaction on the ground or in the trees, we’d partition out sections of the environment so we could have more control of the scattering and simulation.
“As part of our work on Electro, we established a general lifespan to his energy so he would need to replenish himself from the discharges of energy coming off of neighboring powerlines. The system would take electricity from the powerline and at the point of contact on the body, spawn new electricity along the surface. Not only did this create a visual that shows Electro’s dependency on the power source, but it also provided dynamic fluctuation to the lighting.”
You also made contributions to Sandman?
“We worked on the FX look development of Sandman, helping to update his simulated surfacing from when he last appeared in the series. He’s really an extension of our complex environment work, since his character effects like the sand shield and sand storm uproot vegetation and rock assets from the ground, and also push wind through the surrounding trees and foliage. We took a brute force particle approach in Houdini, made entirely of art-directable sand grains, and light rigs were passed from Katana so we could control the density and visual softness without leaving Houdini.”