Although ILM had previously worked on eleven films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Endgame brought a host of new and interesting challenges to the effects team. ILM Visual Effects Supervisor Russell Earl and Animation Supervisor Kevin Martel and their crew tackled some of the film’s most demanding work including the reinvention of Hulk who harnesses his power but at the same time manages to embrace his smart and sensitive side.
Hulk is once again played by Mark Ruffalo, as he has been since 2012 when ILM first created the modern incarnation for “The Avengers”. Turning Hulk into Smart Hulk was a balancing act. We employed cutting edge performance capture technology called Anyma which was originally created by Disney Research Studios and productized in partnership with ILM. ILM’s animation team on Avengers: Endgame, the first feature film to make use of the technology, pushed the technology’s ability to analyze pixel-level detail as it captured pore-level information from Ruffalo. In fact, this high fidelity capture gave Martel’s animation team control over 200 individual facial attributes to recreate and, when necessary, augment every nuance of Ruffalo’s performance.
ILM’s involvement in the film didn’t end there, the team was also instrumental in creating the end battle scene, and most of the other animated characters, including Iron Man, Iron Patriot, Ant-Man, and others. The crew also tackled the time travel sequences which meant delving back into our 2012 “Avengers” assets to recreate that film’s version of Hulk with a few improvements.