Why there’s no one inside this Spider-Man suit

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CGI superheroes are more common than you think.

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On June 9, 1995, Batman Forever introduced audiences to what was likely the first CGI stunt double.

In a few brief shots, a digital double lept from tall buildings and swung on a grappling hook, and was used to convince viewers that Bruce Wayne was more “super” than the average man. Since then, superheroes and digidoubles have gone hand in hand. Protagonists in superhero films often wear masks or skin-tight bodysuits, which makes them perfect candidates for digital replacement; fabric is way easier to replicate digitally than skin.

Technology has only improved over the years, which means digidoubles are used for so much more than just “super” sequences. Today, digidoubles are used to give filmmakers and artists flexibility. Instead of being locked into what they’re able to shoot during principal photography, they can add and remove shots, completely change characters’ costumes, and rewrite the script if they need to — long after filming is over.

The video above breaks down some surprising uses of digidoubles in superhero movies — and shows just how often they appear in modern movies.

Correction: At 6:18, we mistakenly labeled Avengers: Infinity War as Avengers: Endgame.

Further reading:
The Verge: “That massive airport fight in Captain America: Civil War was almost entirely digital”

VFX Futures Podcast” Looking back on the digital human breakthroughs in Spider-Man 2

Rodeo FX: Breaking down the breakdown on Shang-Chi shows how digidoubles get integrated on a recent Marvel film

Befores and Afters: When you have to craft not 1 Spider-Man but 3

Imageworks VFX: Spider-Man Homecoming digidouble breakdowns

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