Avengers 2 Trailer: Our Top 5 VFX Shots

The leaking of the new trailer for Avengers 2: Age of Ultron has created a lot of buzz about the film and its release next May. The trailer introduces fans to some new characters from the Marvel Universe namely The Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and her mythical brother Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Of course, the other two "biggest" arrivals are Ultron, the A.I. cyborg supervillain plotting to destroy the world, and the "Hulkbuster" suit constructed by Tony Stark to smash back at the green giant. Along with providing some hints into the film's characters and plot line, the Avengers 2 trailer also sports some fantastic-looking VFX work shipped by studios like Double Negative and ILM. Since we're having trouble waiting until next May, we thought we'd do a quick VFX pick of our top 5 favorite shots from the trailer. Let us know which of the trailer's shots are your favorite in the comments below.


ships Compositionally simple, but effective, this flyby shot of a fleet of harbor-beached oil tankers looks as if  it may be the work of that dastardly Ultron and his cyborg army. Regardless, it's a nice example of compositing, detailed ship modeling, and realistic texturing that culminates into an eerily strange "fish out of water" scene. However, we're wondering where all the actual fish went.


robot Beginning around 1:04, this very quick glimpse of an evil cyborg crawling out of the ocean shows a nice range of fluid dynamic sims from the large undulating waves to the tiny droplets of water. The cracking texture created around the mechanical hand effectively indicates the cyborg's strength and weight, making it even more menacing. Overall, the shot's composition shows a good balance of masses while the cliff's edge helps divide the image with a strong diagonal line.


Hulk throwing car This shot (around 1:42) of Hulk throwing a car at Tony Stark is a great example of animation. The rigging for this Hulk model must have required an enormous amount control to pull off the great muscle simulation going on with the big guy's back, shoulders and arms. When Hulk gives the car a one-armed heave, it's clear that animators did a great job emphasizing his massive weight and power. The folds and crease simulations on his shorts also adds a nice touch of realism.


hulkbuster This is definitely not the spot where you want to park your Prius. This fight scene between the Hulk and Tony Stark wearing the Hulkbuster suit is a great example of attention to detail. The motion blur applied to the Hulk works well to achieve a sense of his speed and smashing power. The Hulkbuster's powerful hydraulic grip is indicated by some nicely executed deformations and crumples on the car's passenger door. The shower of sparks coming off of Stark's suit have a color that mimics its same gold and red pattern. This color similarity helps connect the sparks directly to the friction and stress surrounding the suit, making it all the more dramatic.


ultron While definitely the most visually simplistic, this shot of Ultron's sudden facial change is unnerving to the nth degree. This is a scene that could have easily been overdone by overly-enthusiastic animators wanting to up Ultron's evil factor by having his face distort too much. Instead, his reaction is much more subtle, his villainy of the cooler more calculating type. Mix this maniacal look with the calmly sophisticated voice of James Spader and you've got a cyborg face only true Marvel fans can appreciate.