Weeks after the release of “Man of Steel,” audiences are still marveling at the film’s incredible technology — not just what was used to bring it to life, but the technology the characters have access to in the film. In a new featurette that posted Friday (June 28) on Wired.com, visual effects supervisors from the film discuss the Kryptonian technology that Jor-El — and later, his son Kal-El — used to explore the disintegrating planet from which they came.
“On Krypton they use a different technology for their displays, through this technology that we called liquid geo,” Dan Lemmon explained, highlighting displays and other interfaces that use a liquid-mercury-esque material. “The way we accomplished the display shapes was through a combination of animation and simulation. Once that animation was finalized, the effects department would run simulations on top of that animation.”
Joe Letteri, the senior visual effects supervisor, credited director Zack Snyder with conceiving of the idea. “He wanted to do something that was interesting and different in the way that you saw information presented,” Letteri revealed. “He didn’t just want to do a typical screen. You need something that has that look but has to be in a sense more liquid.”
In the film, the liquid shows up first when Jor-El is on Krypton as he puts the finishing touches on the transport that carries Kal-El to Earth. Later in the film, Kal discovers a ship buried under the ice in a remote part of the world, where his alien birthright — a small device shaped like his family’s “S” crest — unlocks its memory banks and allows him to interact with the consciousness of his father. Perhaps not unlike that connection Kal so desperately yearns for from his father, the filmmakers wanted the technology to connect them to seem both ephemeral and fully tangible.
“What we tried to come up with was this hybrid technique,” Letteri explained. “[That] would allow us to develop these forms on the fly so they had this metallic liquid droplet feel, but it felt tactile.”
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