On Marvel Studios’ latest superhero feature, Ant-Man, Method Studios, led by visual effects supervisor Greg Steele, was charged with populating the film’s macro world with insects imbued with personality while maintaining a photorealistic look. “The Marvel creatives were nervous of people being turned off by the ants. What we wanted to do was give the insects more of a visual appeal,” notes Steele. “The first thing to go were all of the nasty thorny hairs all over the ant’s body, which were replaced with peach fuzz. Next were their mannerisms and how they moved. We did a range of tests early on when developing the vignettes. When Ant-Man is shown at small scale, time slows down so that the ants don’t appear too frenetic. We treated them almost like puppy dogs. The cute behaviour went over well.”
Macro photography, digital youthefication, hordes of ants and…Thomas the Tank Engine – these were just some of the visual effects challenges faced by the filmmakers in bringing Marvel’s newest cinematic universe film, Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man, to the screen.