This story contains very minor spoilers for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Marvel Entertainment has released some behind the scenes content around two CGI creatures in Shang-Chi: the faceless Morris and the dragon Great Protector.
In the video VFX supervisor Christopher Townsend explains how the two came to be with both starting as storyboard art which is then slowly transformed into CGI with the actors and sets of the movies.
Morris gets a spotlight here the artists on the film needed to make something cute, friendly and emotive all without a face. To do this real world animals were used as references to make up this fictional character’s animation and look. There’s even a skeleton reference for it which is a bit creepy.
In the real world the on-set reference for Morris was a rather shapeless green pillow which the cast could interact with. For the Great Protector, as you can see in the header image, a large bluescreen structure based on the top of the dragon’s head was used.
This blue head is what Townsend calls a “buck” which is attached to gimbal which can then be moved to simulate movement of the dragon which was then created after the fact.
There was also a length of the Great Protector’s back made which is used for several shots you can see in the movie.
It’s a crime to talk about CGI on YouTube without mentioning the Corridor Crew YouTube channel which has movie veterans on to discuss effects, stunts, direction and more in movies.
Many of the elements that Townsend discusses in the Marvel Entertainment production below – such as tracking, digital removal, lighting, rendering, etc – are also discussed in length in many Corridor Crew videos.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is in cinemas now and will be on Disney+ come 12th November.