If you haven't yet seen Into the Spider-Verse, you're missing out on one of the most significant leaps in animation in years. And by leaps, I’m talking about technique and visual representation as well as storytelling. But where was that spark born?
"Alberto Mielgo’s credit on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is “visual consultant,” which doesn’t adequately begin to capture the influence that he had on the look and feel of the stunning and newly Oscar-nominated film.”
Most of the animation crew saw Alberto's animatics first, and it's a credit to his work that so much of the initial energy/vision ended up in the movie. Alberto himself is quick to mention there were hundreds of people who contributed to the film and many, many designers, artists, and technicians "plussed" the initial spark. The CartoonBrew article goes into much more detail.
⭐️Sequence code name: MRU - Miles Rises Up⭐️— Nick Kondo 近藤 (@NickTyson) January 24, 2019
Boards: Alberto Mielgo
Animation: Sungmin Hong, Andrew Hudec, Robin George, Derek Esparza, Kiran Babla @Deweythesecond , Jeff Panko, Emma Cartwright, Philip Rudolph#SpiderVerse #IntoTheSpiderVerse pic.twitter.com/WoNEIKdbbc
Not mentioned here, are the many risks the movie makers took with the art behind this film. Risks like: cutting frame rates to animate with fewer drawings per second, hand drawing over 3-D images, emulating both the line screen and halftone effects of printed comics, working in and out of the constraints of the comic book framing conventions, adding in visual onomatopoeia all added to a departure from the slick gloss of the look championed by Pixar, Disney, Illumination, Blue Sky etc.
“If you’re animating on twos, you have one frame where you are moving and then another frame where you’re not moving at all. And then you move again. From a simulation point of view, that’s the equivalent of stopping and starting, like 0 to 100 every time–simulations don’t like that,” Dimian says. “So, for simulation purposes, we had to have the pipeline rewritten so the animation team could animate the way they want. And then under the hood, the pipeline then tries to interpret the information that is meaningful for a simulation.”
(Full Disclosure, my niece is married to one of the modelers working out of Sony Vancouver. He said, "It's amazing to see something you worked on for years end up on the big screen." Apparently, he went back after the pre-screenings, for the animation teams, to watch it again/alone in theaters and soak in all the results.)
Marry this artwork to the humor, heart, and heroics of the outstanding script and voice performances, and you've got a movie that resonates with audiences young and old.
The best part of the film is that you don't even need to be a fan or fully immersed in comics or the Spider-man minutia to enjoy this narrative. But if you’re familiar with the Spider-Man intellectual property, you'll appreciate the amount fan service packed into this love letter to comics. (It's still playing in theaters if you want to catch it on the big screen. Did I mention that as of this moment it’s an Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature?)