‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’: Marvel Found the Mighty Elementals in the Comics

IndieWire | 7/10/2019 | Staff
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When it came to creating The Elementals, the massive, multiverse monsters for “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” manifestations of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air, Marvel looked no further than some familiar Spidey foes: Sand-Man, Hydro-Man, Molten-Man, and Cyclone.

“I’m not sure which came first in the development process, the idea of using the comic book villains…or elemental creatures that would be subsequently assigned to those villains,” said Janek Sirrs, the production visual effects supervisor. “Either way we trod a fine line with the connection between the two, and only explicitly called out Hydro-Man’s comic book character’s name, leaving the rest more ambiguous.”

Translation - Screen - Design - Issue - Example

Cinematic translation to the big screen, though, was definitely a major design issue. “For example, Molten-Man was at one point depicted as a gold man sporting a buzz cut and a pair of tighty-whities (although we did retain a hint of that buzz cut for nostalgic reasons),” added Sirrs.

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Approach - Elementals - Rocks - Clouds - Fire

The technical approach to all the Elementals, however, was pretty similar: “Underneath all those rocks, clouds, fire, water, etc. there’s essentially an animating figure of some sort, often driven by a motion capture performance,” Sirrs said. “And it’s that performance that drives all the complex sims needed to cast off water spray, or drip molten lava in a believable manner. Given the huge scale of the creatures, those mocap performances had to be slowed down appropriately to get the correct sense of mass.”

“There’s actually a bit of leap of faith when it comes to designing such FX-heavy creatures,” Sirrs added, “as they don’t really come to life until you see them moving with the FX stuff in action. The underlying forms/figures really aren’t...
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