When Spider-Man 3 hits DVD shelves later this month, it will come with a plethora of extras, including over six hours (!) of bonus materials. The highlights of this bonus bounty include a number of featurettes devoted to the film’s digitally-enhanced villains, Sandman and Venom, and RT’s got a sneak peek just for you!
RT visited the CG magicians at Sony Imageworks to preview some of the Spidey 3 effects featurettes, as well as some special tidbits that might not even be on the DVD. First up: Venom! (Check back tomorrow for a preview of the Sandman special feature.)
Venom began with the black goo that first transforms Spider-Man. Digital Effects Supervisor Peter Nofz showed different test versions of the goo, from animated pencil drawings to blobby “fingers” to thinner goo worms.
“Sam [Raimi] kept talking about fingers and here are our earliest finger test that we ever did with the goo,” Said Nofz. “Most of this stuff is procedural. When I say procedural, it means we’re letting the computer do most of the work. But Sam did not react very well to any of this stuff. Then we did these little fingers sliding up the arm but that was not what Sam wanted. He wanted really fingers that would be off the surface of the arm. So all the little tricks that we’d used in the past weren’t going to cut it. Here comes our first kind of goo worm. We’re very proud when we got to this stage. Nobody else was. Nobody else understood what this was. But this was our first goo strand that we could animate.”
Once the goo transferred from Peter Parker to Edie Brock, creating Venom, the animators had a whole new character to create. They could do web slinging and flips just fine, but Animation Supervisor Spencer Cook had to distinguish Venom as a character unique to Spider-Man.
“As with Spider-Man, we start with the comic book,” said Cook. “We go back and we look at all the great artists that have drawn Venom over the years. Then we also played around with some ideas about how to make the fight scenes brutal, what sorts of things Venom could do in a fight.”
One extra that most likely will not make it onto the DVD is home video footage of Sony Imageworks animators performing jumps and poses for Venom. “One of the things that is important to do in animation is sometimes just react from a gut level and just try to understand the body language and the motion of the character on a gut level,” explained Cook. “So by videotaping ourselves doing this and just acting it out without really thinking about it, then studying that later, we were able to get a lot of really good ideas from that. We mix that in with what we know from the actors and reference that we have of the actors.
One impressive animator did a full back flip, which is not one of Venom’s particular abilities. “This is interesting. We didn’t use this but I just thought it was great that one of our animators could do a back flip from a standing position.”
Spider-Man 3 hits DVD October 30. Stay tuned for more Spidey previews from our Sony Imageworks visit!