Ever marvel at the amount of effort that goes into those post-credits codas for Marvel movies? The biggest reveal in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (not counting the appearance of Kurt Russell as Star Lord’s father, Ego the Living Planet) is probably the interstitial end-titles vignette that goes inside the golden world inhabited by the alien Sovereign race.
But its not the identity of Sovereign high priestess Ayesha’s (Elizabeth Debicki) interior decorator that makes the scene important to the Marvel Universe. It’s the identity of the humanoid figure being artificially nurtured in a giant cocoon — the powerful being known in the comics as Adam Warlock.
Luma Pictures, the Santa Monica-based VFX studio that also worked on Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Deadpool, and Captain America: Civil War, took on VFX work for the sequence. That meant creating Warlock’s cocoon, which was based on 3D concept art from Marvel; Luma said it added details including long cables snaking out of the structure and extra VFX elements around its head. It also meant generating a full CG environment for the Sovereign characters.
“The overall look of the set was roughly designed in a couple of concept images and previs sent to us by Marvel,” said Luma VFX Supervisor Jared Simeth in a prepared statement. “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 said the scene was challenging to render, given the reflective gold textures of the chamber and the reflective crystal chandeliers hanging overhead. “It came down to every trick in the book,” Simeth continued, “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 did beauty-work on live-action performers, touching up Debicki’s golden make-up before seamlessly compositing her into the larger CG environment.
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