Screen designer and 3D animator Jays Hansen shows some stills and screenshots of his work on The Avengers. He leds the design and animation of the new and upgraded Mark VII Suit HUD for Iron Man. All of his work for the film was done in Illustrator, After Effects, and Cinema 4D but every idea starts on the paper.
"I start all designs on paper so I included some ideas for the dock icons. In the final icons, the more detailed versions show system status based on the way they animate".
For HUD research, Hansen turned to flight simulators, books and an actual A-10 Fighter pilot named Johnnie Green:
"I would ask about the altimeter, for instance, and ask him in low altitude situations chasing targets what would you want on your HUD?’. He would say, ‘Well, I’d want ground speed, I’d want a VVI – a vertical velocity indicator – and I’d want a G meter so I know I’m not pushing too many Gs and would pass out.’ So that kind of feedback was invaluable and I designed it, in a way, to his specs, if he was facing that similar situation".
Observe the HUD of Iron Man’s Mark VII suit and reflection on the face of Robert Downey Jnr in the clip of Iron Man and Thor dueling in the forest.
Jays describes the capabilities and performance of After Effects in this project as follows: “We came pretty close to breaking AE with the Mark VII HUD. Because of the way the graphics are duplicated for the eye reflections and duplicated for the facial highlights for interactive lighting, the elements on screen approached 20,000 little pieces – Variations of the suit diagnostic contained over 1,000 elements. We had each piece separated out in pre-comps. We did additional color grading on Robert Downey Jnr’s face for interactive lighting. We’d take a comp of the graphics and duplicate it, do a few different things to it, which was then corner-pinned to his face, and then blurred it out in color dodge blend mode.”
More high-res images featuring the work of Jays you can find here.