The third season of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” introduced new Inhumans — and their various powers necessitated a whole new set of VFX. The action has centered on Quake (Chloe Bennet), who leads the Secret Warriors of Inhumans and generates powerful waves of vibrations that resemble earthquakes.
“She has a wonderful story arc in terms of growth and grappling with her powers,” said VFX supervisor Mark Kolpack, who designs the looks and works closely with the actors to get their body performances in sync with the VFX. “Heroes always have chest out, chin down. No one would ever pose like this but when you couple it with the visual effect and the performance and the intensity of the scene, it all becomes one.”
Joey (Juan Pablo Raba) is the Inhuman who destabilizes objects. “We got into Houdini and worked out how objects look when they melt because it’s not heat driven,” Kolpack said. “So we went through a process of different simulations for viscosity and weight until we settled on one that looked cool.”
Then there’s Lash, who creates energy blasts. “Part of it was a solar flare with an ethereal piece with ghosting particles,” Kolpack added. “When Lash puts his hand on you, it’s a contact-driven weapon: the energy enters you, he pulls his hand back and it blows a hole in your chest like a grenade and bursts forward.”
“We had mist sucking into his body like a black hole instead of coming out of his body,” Kolpack said. It started out as a 2D shadow, which became 3D, allowing two-way contact. The team used the high-speed motion control Bolt rig along with the first-time TV use of an optical-free mocap suit with built-in sensors that replicate the motion of the actor.
“It’s about interfacing with the actors and explaining their poses and showing them visual references,” Kolpack said. The actor has to trust the VFX supervisor that they are not going to look stupid. The more uncomfortable it feels, the more cool it begins to look.”
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” concludes its season with the two-hour finale, “Absolution/Ascension,” on Tuesday.