Pressure, crisis, fears from the blacklist: MCU visual effects artists speak


From the side, Marvel may look like a machine. Movie announcements many years in advance lead to frenzied fan speculation, which leads to casting announcements that get more press than entire other films, leading to huge trailer releases and, eventually, premieres of the finished product on the red carpet.

It seems to be carefully thought out, carefully planned — this means that the audience present probably does not suspect that the film they are watching may not even be finished until that morning.

Marvel has a very public face. Unusual outfits, celebrity appearances, brilliant shows. But what fans don’t see is what’s going on behind the scenes as overworked visual effects artists struggle to meet the studio’s unreasonable demands to deliver the film on time. Away from the glamour of an event like a premiere, you can find VFX artists glued to their computers rushing on time to finish a movie on time.

For those on the other side of the silver screen, their point of view on Marvel is more related to long periods of crisis, extremely limited resources and a seemingly endless cycle of rewriting and reshooting, which brings outsourcing visual effects studios to the limit.

“Marvel tends to work until the very end,” one visual effects artist who worked more than 80 hours a week for several months during some Marvel projects told IGN. “For example, you basically don’t have enough time to work on these things. I had a frame I was working on that I finished at 9am and there was a preview in London that same evening. The version I was working on [day] was the version they were going to see at the premiere. It depends on the wire. And not to say that every show is like that, but it really happens.”

IGN reached out to Disney for comment, but did not receive a response until the time of publication.

Marvel VFX Artists Speak Out

When the visual effects artists we spoke to said “the show,” they weren’t just referring to the Disney+ series that Marvel has started producing over the past few years; it embodies every Marvel Studios project, from blockbusters like Avengers: Finale to episodic series like like Vandavision.

Stories about Marvel’s problems with visual effects have been circulating on social media over the past few weeks as artists with experience working on Marvel shows share their experiences. The conversation was sparked by a Reddit thread on r/VFX titled “I’m frankly tired of working on a Marvel show!” As one visual effects artist put it, “Marvel probably has the worst methodology for producing and managing visual effects.”

Many others who claim to work in the industry commented on the post, sharing similar negative experiences or stating that they prefer to avoid Marvel projects altogether. One six-year veteran of the visual effects industry said that the only Marvel project they were involved in was: “Absolutely the worst show I’ve ever worked on… I didn’t know how much worse it could get until this project came along . . .”

The conversation continued on Twitter, where one major post was posted by an artist who said that working on a Marvel show pushed them to completely leave the visual effects industry.

Working on the #Marvel show forced me to leave the visual effects industry. They’re terrible customers, and I’ve seen too many colleagues break down after overwork while Marvel was squeezing wallets.

In light of this discourse, IGN spoke to three VFX artists with experience in several studios, each of whom chose to remain anonymous in order not to harm their careers. Each artist has worked on many projects in the Marvel cinematic universe, but regardless of their differences in employer or project, all their stories about working with Marvel have a similar plot.

Local issues seem to remain the same in the VFX industry, to the point where Marvel Studios has earned itself a rather negative reputation. The studio responsible for telling stories about superheroes such as Captain America, Iron Man and Thor has a not-so-heroic track record, shifting too much work to its visual effects partners and too little time to complete it.

“Quite often people break down under the pressure of these shows,” a second source told IGN, an artist who worked seven days a week on the Marvel project. “Even like the calmest people, they called me on the phone, they just had panic attacks because it’s not a job they can finish, and they don’t know how to overcome this hump… It’s not fun. be at work at night and comfort people.”

Marvel Studios outsources the animation of its films to several VFX studios around the world. These studios are working on various episodes and effects in Marvel Studios films, from choreography and animation of full Spider-Man battle scenes to creating the perfect image for Rocket Raccoon fur.


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