Luma Pictures Lends Bionic Strength to Marvel's 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'


Last Updated: April 21, 2014 6:26 pm GMT
(Santa Monica, California--April 21, 2014) Luma Pictures' contribution to over 375 shots in the recent release of Marvel's 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier,' marks its 6th collaboration with Marvel, and its 2nd duet with Luma's Melbourne studio. The most notable contributions to the latest installment in the Marvel franchise took the form of the Winter Soldier's bionic arm, CG Cars, CG explosions, and a variety of environment Matte Paintings.

One of the most iconic features of the Winter Soldier character is his extraordinary bionic arm. Part armor, part super appendage, it is composed of a set of interlocking panels, with an underlying bio-mechanical infrastructure, giving him both superhuman strength and incredible resilience. In order to build the arm, Luma constructed a highly articulated CG exoskeleton, with a complex internal muscle rig to respond to the dynamic action in the fight scenes.

Because the arm was married to a live performance in every shot, additional rigging had to be created to allow the animation artists to track the pivot points precisely to Sebastian Stan's high energy performance. "Our sequences contained a large volume of fast shots with a lot of action," said Vincent Cirelli, Vice President and VFX Supervisor at Luma Pictures. "In order to establish a good base for the animation, our initial match-moves had to precisely follow the actor's performance. Once we had a dead on match, we could look at the flow and add enhancements to the animation in order to really art direct the action."

Luma was also was called upon to create a number of CG explosions to augment the skirmish. The scope of the digital pyrotechnics included a number of full CG explosions, CG cars and debris as well as a few live action explosion enhancements. "We had the benefit of a lot of very good practical on-set explosion work as a reference," said Richard Sutherland, Luma's Melbourne based CG Supervisor on the project. "We took our cues from the on-set pyrotechnics and worked to make our CG explosions fit seamlessly with those in the rest of the sequence."

One of the more challenging sequences involving the CG Arm was in the Lab, when after his first battle with Steve Rogers, The Winter Soldier retires for a series of painful repairs. During the scene, the actor sits in an operating chair, shirtless while his battle damage is repaired. To fully integrate the CG into the live performance, part of the upper torso had to be re-constructed to make the relationship between the metal arm and the live flesh realistic. "It was interesting crafting a seamless coupling between the CG and the practical elements of the Winter Soldier plate. We had to create a scarred portion of Winter Soldier's chest that not only had to be perfectly photo-real, but also needed to remain interesting and not overly gruesome while making sense mechanically," said Pavel Pranevsky, Luma's Santa Monica based CG Supervisor on the project. "The CG extension then had to have a smooth connection to the actor's body as his chest heaved and shook during the performance. It was a challenging piece of development to ensure the look and movement felt as natural as possible while preserving the dynamics of the actors movements."

The closeup nature of many of these shots exposed much of the inner workings of The Winter Soldier's bionics. The inspiration for the interior mechanics of the arm ranged from aircraft engines to surgical equipment, with Luma referring to clean and elegant mechanical designs, to ground the look the arm and make it believable. "It's always a lot of fun to collaborate with the team at Marvel on these projects. The design we landed on had to work within the Marvel Universe, the story timeline, be visually striking and be intricate enough to work with the initial concept designs," said Founder and Executive Supervisor Payam Shohadai. "We pride ourselves in giving our clients the latitude to make adjustments throughout the show, as our pipeline is very modular, all things move in parallel."

About Luma Pictures:
Luma Pictures is a leading global provider of visual effects services with a reputation for artistic integrity, technical innovation and efficient production. The Studio is currently in Production on Marvel's 'Guardians of the Galaxy' (Marvel Entertainment) and 'Heart of the Sea' (Warner Brothers) and has recently completed work on 'Thor: The Dark World' (Marvel Entertainment) 'Prisoners' (Alcon Entertainment), Saving Mr. Banks (Walt Disney Studios) and 'Oz the Great and Powerful' (Walt Disney Studios).

About Marvel's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier":
After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy-the Winter Soldier.

Based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1941, Marvel's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is produced by Kevin Feige, p.g.a., directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, from a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, and stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp and Hayley Atwell, with Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is presented by Marvel Studios. The executive producers are Louis D'Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo, and Stan Lee. The film releases April 4, 2014, and is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

About Marvel Entertainment:
Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information visit


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