Marvel Studios approached our team at Perception to design a visually stunning Main on End title sequence for their new film, Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania. In this film, Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) find themselves journeying through the Quantum Realm and coming face to face with people and challenges like never before. Since this film focuses so heavily on the Quantum Realm, our team decided to center our end title sequence around this unusual and abstract area of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA FINAL MAIN ON END TITLE SEQUENCE
THE QUANTUM REALM
With the setting playing such a huge role in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, we began focusing our initial directions on the look and feel of the Quantum Realm. To help inspire the appearance of the Quantum Realms within the film, Marvel Studios turned to Chris Parks, an artist specializing in microscopic chemical experiments. When our team saw the incredible work from Chris Parks, we immediately knew that we wanted our title sequence to reflect his work from the visuals of the Quantum Realm.
FOOTAGE DESIGN EXPERIMENT
One of the first steps in developing the main on end title sequence was receiving footage from Chris Parks. Marvel Studios licensed content from Chris Parks to use for this sequence, and it was passed along to us to edit, design and manipulate for our sequence. Once we evaluated and reviewed his work, we wanted to take a deeper dive into learning how this unique and abstract footage could be created.
ENHANCING CHEMICAL EXPERIMENT FOOTAGE
With the footage from Chris Parks in mind, our Creative Director, Greg Herman, and Art Director, Christian Haberkern, began constructing experiments with paint, liquids and water to replicate their own fluid and reactive tests.
Using a large fish tank and an underwater lens, Greg and Christian poured paint into the water of the tank to film the liquid reaction. Greg and Christian placed a mirror inside of the tank on an angle and pointed the lens of the underwater camera towards it, capturing the liquids mixing together from a unique and clear perspective.
The team cycled through this process for several rounds – filling the tank, pouring paint in, emptying the tank, and repeating. This allowed them to capture footage of various colors, shapes, motion and angles.
BEHIND THE SCENES OF FILMING THE ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA TITLE SEQUENCE
After the footage was captured, edited and placed into motion tests, our team delivered these initial tests to Marvel Studios. Once this was declared the chosen direction for the title sequence, Marvel Studios also provided us with Chris Parks’ footage in addition to what we captured for reference and inspiration for our title sequence.
FIRST ROUND OF PAINT AND CHEMICAL FOOTAGE TESTS
After receiving the footage from Chris Parks, Christian began studying the various visuals and techniques that went into creating these fascinating experiments. Using our own chemical mixtures and a RED Epic camera to record, we began constructing our own experiments to create a portfolio of new visuals and tests. We sampled how mixing different chemicals would react with one another to create new colors or movement patterns based on their pH levels and properties.
INITIAL CHEMICAL EXPERIMENTS
As we began putting together our own footage, our artists started running tests to digitally curate textures and visuals that would emulate the Quantum Realm and the chemical experiments. Houdini was our main tool for this, allowing us to generate strange and complex visuals that would be reminiscent the Quantum Realm.
EARLY CHEMICAL REACTION EXPLORATIONS
DESIGNING THE SEQUENCE
With the provided footage and our experiments, we began designing a visually engaging sequence. The visuals were the main focal point of this sequence, so it was critical that each frame, motion and color stood out. We started treating all of our elements with different techniques to make each piece unique.
DESIGN TESTS OF CHEMICAL REACTIONS
The first technique we used was meant to smooth and distort everything. This effect was silky, smearing the footage with blurs and gradients. We found that this technique hid too much of the chemicals and visuals, so we pulled back. In our second pass of the sequence, we balanced a split between the blurring technique and bringing in more organic, liquid footage. This helped bring in a distinct touch of design to warp and enhance the practical footage while also keeping the beauty and complexity of the footage.
TECHNIQUE SAMPLING MOTION TEST
To craft this title sequence, our team utilized Adobe After Effects. However, we only used one plug-in while creating this sequence, which was Chromatic Aberration on top of the footage. Otherwise, we only used the native effects within After Effects to distort, warp, blur and enhance the footage. We used Cinema4D to project some of our footage onto 3D objects. It was then rendered out and brought back into After Effects to be treated again. Once we finished placing our design touch in After Effects, we moved everything into Adobe Premiere Pro for the edit.
REFINED FOOTAGE EXPERIMENTS
A SEQUENCE OF PERCEPTION
Due to the abstract imagery, we crafted this sequence to be perception based, no pun intended! As we built this sequence, our team was seeing shapes and visuals within the footage, sparking new inspiration and ideas on how to design the sequence in a different direction. The visuals are constantly shifting and swirling, playing mind tricks like the Quantum Realm itself and allowing the audience to interpret what they are seeing within those visuals.
The sequence became reminiscent of a Rorschach test. Our team and the team at Marvel Studios kept pointing out different visuals they perceived in the undulating artwork. None of these perceived visuals were intentionally created, but everyone’s mind’s eye saw it differently.
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA FINAL MAIN ON END TITLE SEQUENCE TEXTLESS
While the sequence is perception-based, we still hid Easter eggs in the imagery for the audience to spot. This was especially fun because of how abstract the visuals are, giving us the opportunity to hide Easter eggs in spots that the audience would only see if they were really paying attention. For example, in Corey Stoll’s card, we hid Modok’s face amongst the fluid and shifting visuals. It can only be seen for a brief second, so keep your eyes peeled!
PERSONALIZING THE SEQUENCE
Similar to all of the sequences we create, we want to celebrate the incredible creators and talent that participated in bringing the film to life. For Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, we wanted each filmmaker and member of the production team credited in the sequence to have a personal touch in their card. Whether it was selecting their favorite colors or including their favorite moments from the footage, each card was personalized to their interests and tastes.
Typography always plays a huge role in every title sequence we design, adding extra layers to the visuals to enhance and further detail the sequence. For this title sequence, we started testing some different animations, experimenting with effects that allowed the typography to mirror, expand or shift into place. However, with the ever-changing visuals, bold colors, and light rays, we decided to take a more simple and straightforward approach to the type. We felt a steadier text would let the visuals breathe and speak for themselves.
Our team at Perception had an incredible time exploring the visual possibilities of this title sequence for Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania. Revisiting the Quantum Realm after designing the Quantum Locator in Ant-Man and The Wasp was like returning to a world we have been waiting to deeper explore!