Deadpool 2 may have ran thin on story, but did produce some really amusing scenes that almost threw us off our seats. Yes, that includes Juggernaut tearing the motormouth mercenary in two! Like literally! Funny it may have seemed, but the grim and gory manner of the evisceration made for a difficult viewing to a few. Framestore VFX supervisor Stephane Naze feels it’s a bit of both. “It’s indeed very gory but also very funny! We built all of the entrails and organs, and we added a lot of blood. We wanted it to be over-the-top, for it not to be too realistic. We also had to build a very hi-res version of Deadpool which was a fun challenge.”
It all began in March 2017 when Dan Glass, the production VFX supervisor, called up to find if there’s anything on the plate at the moment. And that was simply the harbinger of yet another collaboration. “We’ve worked together many times before, and have a great, fun, working relationship.”
Framestore went on to deliver 229 VFX shots for the film as a steadfast team of 189 put in a year’s effort to strung it all together.
The first major scene in the movie crafted with heavy visuals, is the orphanage scene when Deadpool and his ragtag team of Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead reach the X-Mansion, Xavier’s school for gifted children, where a furious Firefist has wreaked havoc to torment the abusive staff of the school.
The sequence may have lasted 15 minutes, but quite unbelievably, the post-production of the same took as long as a month to add the effects! Naze succinctly explains what went behind the scenes – “We took a Lidar for the set, which was a good base on which to construct a solid geometry and recreated the environment in full CG, in a month!”
Deadpool 2 once again shed light on the chequered relationship between the mercenary and his close aid Colossus, as it went through yet more turbulence before finally reconciling the two in the third act. Unless you’ve noticed carefully, the metallic mutant did undergo subtle changes in the design for the sequel! Hear it from the supervisor himself – “We wanted to challenge ourselves with Colossus. We wanted to keep the face from the first movie, but we changed everything else about him. We created a new design to make the muscles appear to be very sharp. The other big change was to use the horizontal feature lines to split the geometry into different objects. It was quite challenging to do, but it has been incredibly useful to help keep maximum rigidity in the skin.
“We were able to play with the distance between the objects to simulate the elasticity and also the rotation, to maintain maximum rigidity for the different pieces. A lot of time was also taken to focus on the rigging and muscle deformation.”
Colossus was heavily called into action in the climax, an expansive sequence featuring all the main characters sharing the same screen while the former goes all hammer and tongs at the Juggernaut. It was destruction all around before whittling down to drama and theatrics. But the big battle wasn’t only elaborate in display, but also the hardest to pull off.
“I think the whole of the third act sequence; a big battle with full CG environment. The challenge was mainly due to the tight timescale: the fight had been locked six weeks before the delivery, we had to build the environment in CG three months before the end of the show. A huge responsibility! We had to quickly create photo-realistic CG versions of the orphanage building, surrounded by trees, a swimming pool, gymnasium, and playground in CG.
“Digidoubles of characters, including Deadpool, Cable, Domino and Negasonic also needed to be built for the scene.” Naze also recounts how collaborative director David Leitch was during the post-production while the liberty to throw away ideas opened newer avenues for improvisation.
All done and dusted, Framestore now have a couple of exciting projects coming up, including Christopher Robin, Dumbo, Mary Poppins Returns and the highly anticipated MCU standalone, Captain Marvel!