Making of The Amazing Spider-man villain- The Lizard
As easy as it might look on the screen it was very difficult for the team of Jerome Chen to build the character of The Lizard, the villain of The Amazing Spider-man. Jerome Chen, an Academy Award-nominee, VFX supervisor has been with Imageworks since its founding 20 years ago. Chen and his team oversaw the CG creation of the Lizard. And as it turns out the lizard is the most complex character ever built at Imageworks !
“He’s such an iconic villain from the comic books,” says Chen. “And there have been so many variations – our departure point started with a beautiful sculpt done at Legacy. Our Lizard was almost nine feet tall, muscular and powerful, with a sweeping tail. The face is humanoid, which was important to provide us with a connection to the human Dr. Connors, as performed by Rhys Ifans.”
New animation and rendering technology was developed at Imageworks in order to create the incredible detail of the Lizard’s scales and the movement of his muscles beneath the skin. “Marc wanted the Lizard’s skin to have loose folds – like a Komodo Dragon – but still feel the power of the muscles moving beneath them,” remarks Chen. His team spent months researching lizards, studying HD footage taken during museum and zoo trips, even to a local pet store specializing in reptiles.
The VFX team also had to ground the character in reality so that he would fit in with the rest of the film. But the Lizard – as one of Spider-Man’s most formidable enemies – has plenty of moments in the film where he is not so subtle. The movement style of the Lizard’s physicality during the action scenes took many weeks for the animators to discover and led to a variety of techniques employed throughout the film.
Rhys Ifans was also aghast at the efforts put in by Chen’s team.He says, “The advancements in that technology are quite breathtaking, to say the least. They did extensive CGI maps of my face which involved hundreds and millions of dots, or about 5000 dots on your face. Each of your facial movements are totally repeatable, but then you add onto that the face of a lizard. I was, disturbingly, able to recognise some of my facial tics and movements. In terms of the physicality, we did for the first couple of days use this huge guy who looked like a crash test dummy to do the movements, but I did a lot of work for and with him. I had a particular way I wanted The Lizard to move.
So how did they include the “tail” factor in Ifans’s body language? Ifan says, “You just have to imagine yourself with a longer spine, if you like. Some days I’d be standing on set with the pole stuck down the back of my tracksuit, and on top of the pole would be a flat picture of the lizard head. It was quite comical in comparison to what you’ll see when it’s done.”
Sony Pictures The Amazing Spider-man releases all over India in 3D on 29 th June.—