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Meet the Animators Behind the Hulk in “The Avengers”

Go behind the scenes with the men who built M&F’s mean, green cover guy

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Meet the Animators Behind the Hulk in “The Avengers”

Getting the workout for an M&F cover guy is usually pretty simple: talk to the guy or talk to his trainer. Putting a CGI character on our cover, however, required a different approach, so we provided you with a cover story on how bodybuilder Ben Pakulski built himself up to modern-day Hulking proportions, as well as the training template that Lou Ferrigno used while filming the original Hulk TV series. But it still begs the question: How did the actual cover guy get to look the way he did? We recently chatted with Jeff White, who served as the Avengers’ Visual Effects Supervisor, and Ryan Meinerding and Charlie Wen, both Visual Development Supervisors, to see how they built the latest and greatest incarnation of the Hulk.

M&F: What was your inspiration for the way the Hulk should look? Did you draw from bodybuilder’s physiques or were you looking at other athletes or models?

Jeff White: It was a pretty lengthy process in terms of building the Hulk. We started with a really great design from the art department at Marvel. Since we had attempted this before, we had a lot of good people around here to talk to for some of the pitfalls in terms of creating this character. We really tried to start from lots and lots of references. We brought in a couple of different guys. We had a bodybuilder, we had a guy that used to work for Cirque De Soleil, so he was a lot leaner where we could see some of the forms and the muscles better and we just set up cameras all around them and had them move through lots of poses. But on top of live reference, we had a ton of photo and video, too — medical journals, photos of bodybuilders and strongmen, a lot of stuff like that.

Charlie Wen: I had a few Arnold Schwarzenegger images up while I was working — from that era before bodybuilders got extremely huge everywhere. I was trying to keep it as naturalistic as possible because on the previous Hulk movie, The Incredible Hulk, there was this emphasis on just being super ripped all the time. You could see all the striations in the muscles. We really wanted to get back to a Hulk where you can actually feel his muscles relax and flex and just really believe the movement of the muscles.

Ryan Meinerding: We generally got our direction from Joss [Whedon]. He didn’t want him to be super ripped and he talked about turn of the century strongmen as a starting point, guys that have a little bit more natural amount of body fat.

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