We interviewed Image Engine’s talented visual effects artists to learn about their work on one of Thor: Ragnarok’s pivotal narrative moments: the introduction of Hela. We took that information and turned it into a detailed project page for the studio website…
Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok is a visual masterpiece. Director Taika Waititi shifts focus back to the mythological side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, guiding audiences through a galaxy-spanning action-adventure experience replete with all the neon-hued vibrancy of the Bifrost itself.
The visual effects are constant and beautiful, from the resplendent spires of Asgard to the detailed junk pits of Sakaar – and with plenty in-between, including the windswept sequences that take place atop a craggy Norwegian clifftop, delivered by the team at Image Engine.
The studio’s artists have tackled the MCU once before, creating the lush jungle landscapes of Wakanda for Captain America: Civil War. They were more than happy to dive in once again, offering environmental expertise across this pivotal narrative moment.
“It was truly great to be asked back to the MCU,” begins Dave Morley, VFX supervisor on the project. “The Marvel movies are some of the most impressive visual experiences in cinema today, not to mention the driver of many of today’s most innovative visual effects. It was a true honor to be asked back to that continuing narrative.”
“The Marvel movies are some of the most impressive visual experiences in cinema today, not to mention the driver of many of today’s most innovative visual effects”
Bringing Thor down to earth
Image Engine’s core sequence takes place while Thor and his duplicitous stepbrother Loki return to Midgard to search for their lost father, Odin. A number of teleportations see them uprooted from Doctor Strange’s mansion and deposited on a Norwegian cliff face, facing out towards a placid sea.
“It was a great sequence to work on – albeit one that we came onto very late in the process,” says Morley. “Our contribution to Thor: Ragnarok was very much 911 work: from award to delivery we had eight weeks to complete around 150 shots.
“Thankfully, we have a lot of past experience in quick turnaround work: our battle-tested pipeline is perfectly prepared for any challenge. We knew going into Thor that even within the time we had we could create a beautiful digital environment – and one that would visually reflect the emotional beats taking place within it.”