Despite the hefty amount of blockbusters that blast into theaters every year, the visual-effects creation process is largely an enigma to the average moviegoer. Now the biggest movie in America is shedding some light on how its spectacle was brought to life.
Federico D’Alessandro, the head storyboard artist and animatics supervisor at Marvel Studios, has shared an early rendering of the scene from "Iron Man 3" in which Tony Stark's Malibu mansion is attacked. D’Alessandro envisioned a nascent version of the scenes using an animatic -- a rough-cut storyboard that uses animation to depict how a scene will play out.
D’Alessandro shared the animatic, as well as that of a potential "Halloween" remake he pitched, with Slashfilm. He also relayed an account of how he created the "Iron Man 3" scene's aesthetics alongside director Shane Black:
"I met with Shane Black very early during pre-production to discuss this scene. Even in the early stages, the sequence seemed gargantuan. So much needed to happen in a relatively short amount of time, and I knew that this would be my most challenging animatic yet. The beauty of the way Shane works is that he’s not only a brilliant storyteller but he’s very open to other ideas, and during my time on the show he trusted me as a creative collaborator. I wanted to reward the freedom he gave me and that led to some of my best work I’ve done for Marvel yet. After a few story meetings with Shane where we hashed out a lot of beats together, he gave me control of the scene and I went to work figuring out how to turn this sequence into a visual spectacle.
Creating this animatic was a technically challenging process as I was trying a lot of new techniques not normally found in animatics. The storytelling had to be tight, the energy frenetic, and the action clear. One of the things I focused on was a “good news, bad news” stacking of the beats…Tony gets out of a bind, only to be faced with another challenge which he overcomes but then he is immediately dealt a fresh problem. As much as anything else, Tony needed to outthink his attackers."
"Iron Man 3" is out in theaters now. The film recently crossed the $1 billion milestone at the global box office.