Unraveling the CGI Modern Superhero Suit

wonder studios

By Meg Shields Published May 13, 2022

Welcome to The Queue – your daily distraction from curated video content from across the web. Today we’re looking at a video essay that looks at how (and why) animators use CGI to create superhero costumes.


Maybe you’re a fan of Marvel’s happily deep-pocketed superheroes. Maybe you’re a hardened cynic like the last duel director Ridley Scott, who refers to superhero movies as “boring” and “wizard movies.” Or maybe you’re the kind of person who lets silly culture wars slide by you.

Regardless of how the chips fall, there’s no denying that the way modern big-budget superhero movies navigate special effects is fascinating. In particular, the ways in which modern CGI techniques emulate or develop older special effects techniques.

Case and point: the digitable, the practice of partially or fully recreating real human beings with CGI stand-ins. Digidobles are everywhere in superhero movies, even in the most mundane scenes, in part because costume elements like masks and costumes are easy to emulate digitally. The use of digidoubles also allows the studios to have more control once principal photography has wrapped.

It’s fascinating to think how much digidobles have in common with rotoscoping, an animation technique that allowed artists to use live-action film as a traceable reference to create more natural-looking animated motion. The line between live action and animation is blurred in modern big-budget superhero movies. And no matter how you feel about gender, it’s absolutely wonderful that there’s a directed genetic link between something like Ralph Bakshi The Lord of the rings and the last Spiderman excursion.

For more on how and why digidubles have become so prevalent in superhero fare, check out the video essay below. (And maybe check to make sure it’s not actually a CGI double of yourself.)

Watch “Why There Is No One Inside This Spider-Man Suit”:


Who did this?

This video on how modern superhero movies use CGI to animate costumes is from voxan American news website owned by Vox Media, founded in 2014. Vox produces videos about news, culture and everything in between. This video was produced and animated by Edward Vega with art direction by Estelle Caswell and story editing by Bridget Henwood. You can subscribe to Vox on YouTube here. And you can follow them on Twitter here.

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Related Topics: Marvel, Spider-Man, The Tail

Meg Shields is the humble farmer of your dreams and a main contributor to Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How’d They Do That? and Horrorscope. She is also the curator of One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found yelling about John Boorman’s ‘Excalibur’ on Twitter here: @TheWorstMonja. (She she).

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