Currently streaming on Amazon Prime and released in late 2022, Black Adam was one of the most
anticipated movies from the DC Universe starring Dwayne Johnson, Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Shahi, Noah
Centineo, Quintessa Swindell and others. As expected in many superhero movies, it has several
VFX-heavy scenes. To learn more in-depth details about the VFX techniques used, Animation Xpress
interviewed Fabricio Baessa who was DNEG’s VFX Supervisor for Black Adam.
For Black Adam, DNEG worked on five sequences delivering 200 shots with the help of about 300 artists
from DNEG studios in Mumbai, London and Montreal.
Black Adam on Throne
DNEG was behind the popular promotional pose and poster scene where Black Adam is seen sitting on
his throne. DNEG’s goal was to recreate the scene as closely as possible to the original comic book
version. From the blue and purple sky and clouds to the sun rays shining through, all details were added to ensure it looked both cinematic and majestic. Baessa said, “We had to construct the throne from scratch. We decided to create a 100 per cent CG throne and we applied some scene extension from the sides. A fun fact: when Black Adam sat on the throne, he originally had wrinkles on his clothes and we were responsible for removing these to ensure everything looked perfect.”
DNEG worked on everything inside the throne room. Baessa said, “We worked on the lighting and the
smoke effects used during the fight inside the throne room. The director had a specific vision for the
lighting. To create the room true to the reference, we had to measure and maintain the thickness of the
light and monitor how it moved. For the smoke that was added, the filmmakers envisaged this to be
illuminating smoke rather than regular smoke so the team worked accordingly.”
The post-credit scene is an emotional scene which marked the entry of Superman and was an important
part of the film. The DNEG team worked under significant time pressure and managed to complete the
scene in three weeks. Not wanting to spoil this for the fans, the team strived to ensure the scene would
live on in the memories of viewers. It was important to ensure the sky and stars looked as realistic as
possible. The drone landing from the sky was another important component of the work. DNEG did
research on its movements to ensure it looked realistic and authentic.
DNEG used actual paintings and photo references to determine what looked best. They also used a
digi-double for Black Adam in the film. The most challenging part was aligning DNEG’s work with the other VFX studios working as additional vendors on the film, each with different pipelines and ways of working.
Speaking about his experience working with Director Jaume Collet-Serra, Baessa said, “He really likes to
explore alternative ways of presenting an idea inside a scene. It’s very important for him. He visualizes the ideas and chooses the best path to take based on viable options. Once he sees something that makes
him happy, he’s very clear on how we can help him realize his final vision. Once Jaume locks the idea, it is
easy for us to execute it.”
Black Adam was also a special project for Baesaa, “It was an interesting project for me. I was a nerd and I
had all the comic books. I also worked on two Wonder Woman projects, we did Superman and Batman,
and when Black Adam came, I was really excited to join the project.”
Sharing about DNEG’s current and upcoming projects, Baessa mentioned that the team was excited to
have worked on the upcoming film, Shazam 2. He also recently went to Texas for the shooting of Robert
Rodriguez’s next project.