2005 Movie News Archives

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April 30, 2005: Mike Verta Talks Superman “S” Shield

SuperHeroHype have interviewed Mike Verta on creating the 3D "S" Shield for "Superman Returns". Here's part of the interview...

Q: What sort of input did Warner Bros & Bryan Singer have on the design of the 'S' shield?

A: I didn't design the 'S' - that was done by Bryan Singer and film's production design department. I was responsible for translating it into 3D. WB sent me a jpeg of the costume torso and asked me to produce several variations on the look of the material. Q: How did you create the SR shield in 3D?

A: I began by modeling it in 3D in a package called Rhino - it was a pretty rough model, but enough for me to begin the texture and lighting work on it in Maya, while a friend of mine, Bill Tromans took the geometry to the next level. Because it was going to have reflections all over the surface, we treated it like an auto body, which meant the surfaces had to be absolutely precise in curvature continuity. It was extremely difficult, but it came out beautifully.

Q: What was your reaction when it was officially released?

A: I hadn't heard it was going to be released! I was reading posts on another board and someone posted this huge screenshot of the logo and I just about freaked. See, the work was produced under the strictest security, obviously, and I was liable for that sort of thing, so I called up WB in a panic... but of course they were completely calm on the other end of the phone saying, "Oh yeah, we released it..." but it was a rough few minutes there.

Q: How many different designs did you do for the 'S' shield?

A: I didn't design the shield logo. I did several chrome versions, a glass version, 2 red and yellow metal versions,(one with a shiny surface and one with a more "satin" finish), 2 plastic-looking ones, and a black metal version. Those were sent to Warner Bros. for some additional paint work by Jon Sparrman before being presented to Bryan.

Q: Now that the Superman Returns suit has gone public what are your thoughts on the final costume?

A: Well, I'd seen a close-up of the torso already, and I thought the material that it's made of looked really cool, sort of like rubber dodge-balls do, with diamond-shaped indentations on it. And the shield itself has what looks like little mini "S" shaped indentations in it... very nice. Of course I could tell the color palette was different right away, and I remember thinking there's a lot more to this Superman than just another guy in a blue suit. You have to remember that no element of a film is an island. The costume is part of the character, who's part of the story, that's part of the drama, and all those elements work together in very specific ways. There were some very careful decisions made about how the costume would appear, and I can't wait to see how it all works together.

Visit SuperHero Hype to read the complete interview.

2005 Movie News

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