Captain America: Civil War
I was responsible for developing Ironman's beams in the final battle sequence, along with some heat smoke, dust, debris, and several layout animation systems for an establishing shot of the city of vienna just before the summit sequence. This was my first marvel feature and I had a lot of fun!
The beam was in about 4 shots, one of which was the hero shot of Cap blocking beams with his shields. I supplied elements for that shot but didn't include it here since I wasn't sure how much of it made it through, as multiple artists were throwing elements at it. All beam elements were based on a line received from animation for timing and placement, with the main ones being lighting-like polylines and a volumetric layer with anisotropic noise layers, both animating along the direction the beam was shooting in the shot. In addition, quite a few masks were supplied. To supplement the core energy, sparks were emitted at the source and contact points of the beam.
To model the release of energy, a stringy smoke element was created that fell off the beam as it traveled and a trail of dust was left behind the beam as it traveled in the shot of it coming out of Ironman's chest. For the shot above, I also provided debris, dust, and a burn mask for the areas of the ceiling that were contacted.
For this full cg establishing shot, I developed layout tools for trees, animation paths for the cars, and streetlights all over the city. The tree tools took in a line or poly as an input and automatically instanced a random tree from a library I created earlier in the show. Ground contact and environment collisions were also accounted for, so laying out the shot up just being a case of placing a few lines and polygons in around the city. The upper screen left trees in the background were generated from terrain with an occlusion threshold so that they wouldn't be created inside the buildings. The car animations were also mostly procedural, curves were extracted from the roads using Dijkstra path finding and then points were animated along them using parametric uvs with the appropriate offsets and randomizations to make it appear natural. I had to come up with a few custom solutions to provide a few parking cars just to push the realism a bit further.