Marvel Studios
Main on End (MOE)
Screen Graphics
Concept Creation
Titling
Animation
CG (Computer Graphics)
VFX/Visual Effects
Motion Design
Typography
Finishing
Stereoscopic

Captain America: Civil War

What casts a long shadow? Heroes do. Cataclysmic events do, too.  Metaphorically doubling down on both, so does our epic main-on-end title sequence for Marvel Studio’s Captain America: Civil War.

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The Story

This third film in the Cap saga has our heroes deeply divided into two factions: One group, led by Iron Man, supports greater governmental control of their actions. The other, led by Captain America, completely opposes it.  Whatever good the Avengers and Captain America have done vanquishing evil, has come at great cost—loss of lives and a lot of collateral damage.  Iron Man believes government as overseer will lessen the damage. Captain America disagrees. By the end of the film,  battles between the two over this core issue—and with ever-present villains who make matters worse, have left the earth a scorched rubble of ruin. Our melancholic MOE sequence needed to give viewers the chance to reflect on all of this.

Unlike most superhero movies, there was no happy ending. The Avengers have split-up and soul searchingly, must weigh the cost of their involvement in “saving” the world. With that as the culmination, doing a big whiz-bang main-on-end title wouldn’t achieve the right tone. We had to do something more contemplative.

 

In our shadowy solution, light moves just out of frame, revealing the aftermath of battle–the chunks of debris, the cracked earth, and the deep fissures expanding from both. As the first title is revealed, strongly lit from five angles with spotlights, even the stones cast long dramatic shadows. And then, in the subtlest of poignant design surprises, when the second title appeals, the shadows take on a life of their own, assuming forms that are easily recognized by Marvel fans. Each illuminates a key fact about the titled figures, giving insight into their characters. 

We limited our muted color palette to shades you would see in concrete, stone and shadow, but included steel blue, which is thematically representational of Captain America.

Producing our sequence which is 100% CG and photo-real, we used a blend of graphic illustration, 3D-generated typography, and photorealistic textures. We built all of the 3D in Cinema and then used Nuke to composite and Smoke to finish.

The Screen Graphics
Play The Sequence
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Equally exciting, beyond the title sequence, we created 22 special effects for the film. In all these represented more than three minutes of visual storytelling under the direction of the Russo brothers.

At its core, the VFX assignment was to brand the United Nations within the Marvel Universe. After we established the look and feel for that, we had to ensure that the visuals matched the narrative of the scene and supplied any additional information the directors were looking to convey.

After completing the design and animations, we composited them into plates supplied by the studio.

Marvel Studio’s visual effects (VFX) supervisor Dan DeLeeuw and VFX producer Jen Underdahl initially invited us to bid on eight VFX shots. But once they saw the first-class pipeline we have here, and what we had to offer, they awarded us 14 more shots.

We also produced shots for the film’s trailer, which appeared during the Super Bowl. To support the added production demands VFX placed on our studio, we had two teams going at once: One focused on the MOE and one on the VFX. Success on all fronts was a fantastic confirmation of our expanded capabilities.

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The Art of the Title

For an even deeper look into our process, be sure to check out Sarofsky’s interview about Captain America: Civil War at The Art of the Title. 

Reflections

“It was crazy rewarding to have the opportunity to work on multiple aspects of this film. What continues to set us apart in the design production industry is our ability to make sure that design is at the forefront of every project we do. In every one of our shots for Captain America: Civil War, design was integral to the communication of the scene, so each one was a great fit for us to work on.”

Project Credits 
  • Lead Creative
    Erin Sarofsky
  • Executive Producer
    Steven Anderson
  • Producers
    Erik Crary
  • Sam Clark
  • Visual Effects Supervisor
    Matthew Crnich
  • Pipeline
    Alex Kline
  • Editor
    Michael Burke
  • Smoke and Finish
    Cory Davis
  • Motion Designers
    Brent Austin
  • Chris Beers
  • Duarte Elvas
  • Nick Hopkins
  • Jon Jamison
  • Alex Kline
  • Michael Kislovsky
  • Zach Landua
  • Anthony Morrelle
  • Drew Parks
  • Andrew Popplestone
  • Dan Tiffany
  • Tnaya Witmer
  • Compositors
    Chris Beers
  • Jon Jamison
  • Jr. Smoke Artist
    Michael Barry
  • Music By
Client Credits 
  • Client
    Marvel Studios
  • Executive Producer
    Kevin Feige
  • Louis D’Esposito
  • Victoria Alonso
  • Film Directors
    Anthony and Joe Russo
  • VFX Supervisor
    Dan Deleeuw
  • VFX Producer
    Jen Underdahl
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