Method Studios' VFX Role in 'Deadpool 2'
June 18, 2018

Method Studios' VFX Role in 'Deadpool 2'

Wisecracking mercenary Deadpool assembles a team of mutants to protect a boy from the all-powerful Cable in Fox’s Deadpool 2. In creating the R-rated action-comedy, the studio tapped Method Studios for about 300 VFX shots, kicking off with a high-energy montage of various baddies getting their comeuppance. 
Method artists provided stylized gore and seamless compositing for the journey across criminal hotspots that include a bathhouse, strip club, meth lab and mob boss funeral. Director David Leitch captured much of the content on set then had Method digitally blend and augment the real-world elements.

“David is very practically-driven, so he wanted to shoot as much as possible in camera. This approach is great for us because it established a realistic baseline of what elements should look like in the environment, and a lot of the harder tasks are resolved before we begin so we can focus on refinement and more creative-driven work,” said Method VFX Supervisor Sean Konrad.

Similarly, Production VFX Supervisor Dan Glass approached shooting plates meticulously, planning shoots based on the angle of the sun, syncing movements on set and arranging guideline markers, which gave artists a great jumping-off point. Konrad was on set for many of these shoots, in some cases compositing live between takes to make sure the action was in sync. Once shooting wrapped, Method Compositing Supervisor Andrew Brooks and his team further blended the footage.

Konrad noted, “The bit in the meth lab was especially fun to shoot. It was set up as this discordance, and the unique look was achieved through motion control, with the foreground running at 96 fps and the background in real time. The fight choreography is really complicated, and it was cool to see the team in action.” 

About a third of Method’s shots take place in the prison, where an anti-mutant paramilitary group has detained Deadpool. Production built a sizable physical set in an old warehouse in Vancouver, which artists augmented with CG smoke and dust under the direction of Method’s Digital FX Supervisor Sean Schur. They also created Cable’s arm for these shots. For authenticity, they maintained a consistent look and glow for the flashing red lights, and peppered shots with CG glass shards and explosion enhancements.

Several of Method’s shots center around Deadpool’s interaction with Colossus at the X-Mansion, with the work overseen by Method Animation Supervisor Alex Poei. Lighting Colossus for the performance-driven sequence proved challenging, considering his reflective surface. Method artists painted HDRI domes to get interesting highlights and also softened his expressions. Designing long, broad movements in the face helped to convey the appropriate metal texture while also hitting empathetic beats. Actor Stefan Kapicic, who voices Colossus, did a facial-capture session to pull data that was used as reference for keyframe animation and also to ground the performance. 

A recurring plot in the film is Deadpool’s attempt to get to the afterlife, instead landing in a limbo-like state. In developing the look of the afterlife and visualization of the barrier that keeps him from crossing over, Method expanded on concept art created by Method Senior Art Director Philippe Gaulier with input from Glass. Method artists also added CG elements to select scenes in which Deadpool suffers a particularly gruesome injury such a broken arm and back during a fight with Cable or cracked skull after his tumble down a mountain. 

Additionally, Method’s New York-based design team created the opening and main-on-end titles for Deadpool 2, and Skip Kimball of Method sister company EFILM provided the color grade.