The main body of work that ILM was tasked to take on for Captain America: The Winter Soldier involved the reimagined Helicarriers, Falcon, S.H.I.E.L.D. Headquarters, and the massive third act battle. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo were clear from the beginning that everything needed to be grounded in reality.
ILM’s visual effects team created fully 3D digital environments including Washington D.C., the Helicarrier Bay, and the Triskelion building, and signature effects such as Black Widow’s digital veil reveal, Falcon flying, and the dramatic Helicarrier battle which ends in the final carrier tearing into the Triskelion building. As you might imagine, this final sequence involved massive amounts of simulated weapons and destruction. The team added detail like the carrier engines wobbling upon being hit, or the carrier hulls having subtle bends and wobble when being torn apart. For this, we used our flesh sim engine. The gunfire smoke and debris as well as all the large explosions, missile trails, and tracers were also simulated to have proper integration into the action. Individual shots had as many as fifty plus explosion simulations, plus smoke, particulate, and rigid body dynamics. Even small details like the quinjet tethers and remove-before-flight tags were simmed in the destruction shots.
As the carriers are destroyed, they drop nose down into the Potomac and crash violently back into the helicarrier bay. The walls come crashing down as millions of gallons of simulated water pour into the underground facility.