While in post-production on Doctor Strange, Marvel Studios was looking for some ideas to help elevate an already intense sequence in the film. Marvel Studios called on us to provide several weeks worth of creative consultation — effectively “taking ideas that are crazy and stretching them to be totally insane.” This collaboration made sure that no opportunity was missed to make the film as lucid and visually dynamic as possible.
As Stephen Strange first meets The Ancient One, she sends him spinning into a psychedelic journey through the multi-verse. This journey through various abstract environments, and bizarre experiences is both eye-opening and terrifying.
VFX Supervisor Stephane Ceretti came to us with a version of this sequence already well in progress. His request was to have us riff on the existing sequence and search for opportunities to create surprising experiences during this highly surreal sequence.
DESIGNING A PATH
Eschewing a traditional VFX process, we created a game plan that focused on a rapid turnaround of ideas and conceptual exploration, rather than high fidelity (and time-consuming) execution. The process consisted of iterative meetings and workshops — we would present ideas and concepts which would kick-off energetic brainstorming sessions. Any ideas that gained traction would receive another round of development, and the process would reset to the beginning: Ideate, Brainstorm, Develop, Reset.
An extensive audit of everything from psychedelic artwork, to natural phenomenon served as a jumping-off point for discussions with Marvel.
The creative decision-making process at Marvel Studios is an exhilarating force of nature. Thousands of key decisions are made daily by a team that is decisive and thoughtful, while maintaining tremendous momentum. In order to provide Marvel with a frequently refreshed crop of new ideas, we emphasized creating various tests at the right level of fidelity. Too little detail, and the ideas are hard to imagine in the context of film. Too much detail, and days of time are lost on a single idea.
Doctor Strange was the eighth collaboration between our team and Marvel Studios, and also marked another momentous collaboration. Doctor Strange is the first film to begin with a new Marvel Studios animated logo, designed and animated by our team. We are thrilled to continue a long-standing relationship with Marvel Studios, and honored to contribute ideas to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.