Venom: The CGI-Powered Symbiote Excels in VFX

Image credits: ©Sony pictures


There is a huge popularity surge for superhero movies nowadays. Marvel and DC are frequently bringing new characters to the big screen.

After Spider-Man: Homecoming, Marvel planned to make a movie on their antihero, the sentient alien Symbiote called Venom. But ultimately the production rights went to the Columbia Pictures. Ruben Fleischer was roped in as director.

CGI characters

When the second trailer of the movie released, it was revealed that there was not just one, but two CGI characters. Given the history of Sony’s superhero movies it was easy to assume that either they’re going to have limited screen time (in their symboite forms), or the budget of this movie might possibly be in the 110-130m range or have a not-so-great visual effects.

Turns out, it’s the visual effects that did the wonders. Hardy’s ordinary human journalist Eddie Brock transformed into a tentacle-sprouting symbiote freak in this Marvel Comics-based story. Venom also features a fully digital version of the character voiced by Tom Hardy.

VFX production

Remember the first ever complete digital character Gollum from Lord of the Rings triology? It’s good to acknowledge that Weta Digital that crafted Gollum developed Venom. Weta Digital’s impressive credits also includes Avatar, The Hobbit trilogy, Planet of The Apes trilogy, District 9, King Kong, Prometheus, and Valerian.

The Production VFX Supervisor: Paul Franklin who won the Oscar for visual effects in Interstellar worked alongside supervisor Sheena Duggal and supervised the making of these different Venom appearances. According to him the most challenging part of the making was the surfacing details.

Due to the iconic design and origins of the character, they had to feature plenty of digital effects for symbiote’s crazy ways of stretching, tearing and morphing.

Multiple effects

Weta’s fully CG Venom stood 7’6” so super-precise tracking was needed to make shots for several gory transformations, and a detached appendage known as the ‘Wraith’ Venom. The film also uses plenty of in-camera techniques to realistically bring the symbiote to life. Venom comes loaded with gooey liquid. The animation team and the FX animation team added layers of viscous fluid movement to get this right.

venom viral
Image credits: ©Sony pictures


Venom may not be on the same epic scale as other Marvel movies (specifically that of his counterpart Spider-Man), but the action sequence, and the whole of Venom has definitely delivered us the visual satisfaction we needed.

Do share your thoughts on Venom in the comment section below.

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