Marvel Studios reached out to Perception to help generate a range of various designs for the movie The Avengers. Already in the post production phase, Marvel knew from past projects that Perception would be able to jump aboard this fast moving freight train with the speed and agility to keep up with a massive scale project that was still taking shape.
One of the first sequences the Perception team was asked to work on involved Steve Rogers (aka Captain America) becoming accustomed to the modern world. As he wanders the streets of New York, he walks past an Acura dealership with a sophisticated holographic or “smart glass” display. The team explored numerous options to give director Joss Whedon a choice as to how advanced the display should be.
Perception took the time to develop the options into motion-tests, which helped accentuate the level of detail and sophistication within the graphic elements.
The second test was more restrained, giving the display a more present-day feel. This approach was ultimately selected for use in the film.
In anticipation of additional sequences being filmed, Perception worked closely with Marvel’s VFX Supervisor Janek Sirrs in creating a range of stylistic approaches that would define the mysterious World Security Council. Marvel provided this key reference to give Perception’s team inspiration of how the World Security Council has always been rendered in the comic books.
As Marvel was already running at full tilt preparing for reshoots, Perception provided some relief by quickly shooting a range of lighting tests, allowing Director Joss Whedon to determine the most appropriate look for the sequence, without the need for on-set experimentation.
The approved direction was a stylized treatment that revealed aspects of the character’s identities, while still suggesting a sense of uncertainty. The test was further developed during filming, evolving into the sequence seen in the final film.
In addition to natural lighting set-ups, Perception explored a range of graphic treatments inspired by the comic books reference. These approaches range from visual distortion to abstracted facial recognition to digital encryption.
Although the team at Marvel ultimately opted to go with a strictly live-action presentation, during development Joss Whedon and Janek Sirr’s were excited by the graphic concepts that Perception produced in these motion tests.
Perception was also tasked with creating new content for the main display onboard the QuinJet. Each of the concepts explored were designed to have a Military-like utilitarian approach, as well as being created to match an array of existing displays, all shot practically.
Perception also explored various designs for the layout of Pepper Pott’s cell phone featured in the climax of the film. These designs ranged from something that would feel like an evolution of Tony Stark’s “Stark-Tech” phone, to something more like a consumer-grade Stark Phone.
Perception was proud to collaborate with Marvel once again, especially on such a ground breaking film. The Avengers is the third highest grossing film of all time and was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 2012. The saga will continue in 2015 with Avengers 2: The Age of Ultron.