In December 2011, Disney announced that the film would be converted to 3D. Said Whedon, "I'm not a big fan of extreme long lens, talky movies — I like to see the space I'm in and relate to it, so 3D kinda fits my aesthetic anyway. And the technology has advanced so far in the past couple years." Whedon also said that "there definitely are movies that shouldn't be in 3D" but "The Avengers isn't obnoxiously 3D. There's no, 'Oh look, we're going to spend 20 minutes going through this tunnel because it's in 3D!' And no one is pointing at the screen the entire time. But it's an action movie. Things tend to hurtle toward the screen anyway". In January 2012, it was reported that the film would be digitally remastered for IMAX 3D and open in IMAX theaters on May 4, 2012, the same day it opens in regular theaters. The film's IMAX release follows Marvel's IMAX releases of Iron Man 2 and Thor.
In a May 2012 interview, Whedon said that it was his decision to include Thanos in a post-credits scene, although the character is not identified in the film. "He for me is the most powerful and fascinating Marvel villain. He's the great grand daddy of the badasses and he's in love with Death and I just think that's so cute. For me, the greatest Avengers was Avengers Annual #7 (1977) that Jim Starlin did followed by Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2 (1977) that contained the death of Adam Warlock. Those were some of the most important texts and I think underrated milestones in Marvel history and Thanos is all over that, so somebody had to be in control and had to be behind Loki's work and I was like 'It's got to be Thanos.' And they said 'Okay' and I'm like 'Oh my God!'" An additional coda involving the Avengers eating shawarma was shot on April 12, 2012, a day after the world premiere. (Shawarma sales in Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Boston reportedly skyrocketed in the days following the film's release.)
The film contains more than 2,200 visual effects shots completed by 14 companies: Industrial Light & Magic, Weta Digital, Scanline VFX, Hydraulx, Fuel VFX, Evil Eye Pictures, Luma Pictures, Cantina Creative, Trixter, Modus FX, Whiskytree, Digital Domain, The Third Floor and Method Design. ILM, who previously worked on Ang Lee's Hulk, was the lead vendor and shared responsibility for creating many of the film's key effects, including the Helicarrier, the New York cityscape, digital body doubles, Iron Man and the Hulk. To create the on-screen Hulk, Ruffalo performed in a motion-capture suit on set with the other actors while four motion-capture HD cameras (two full body, two focused on his face) captured his face and body movements. Jeff White, ILM's visual effects supervisor, said, "We really wanted to utilize everything we've developed the last 10 years and make it a pretty spectacular Hulk. One of the great design decisions was to incorporate Mark Ruffalo into the look of him. So, much of Hulk is based on Ruffalo and his performance, not only in motion capture and on set, but down to his eyes, his teeth, and his tongue."
ILM digitally recreated the vast majority of the New York cityscape used in the film. In total, ILM artists rendered an area of about ten city blocks by about four city blocks. To do this, ILM sent out a team of four photographers to take pictures of the area in a shoot that lasted 8 weeks. Disney and Sony Pictures agreed for OsCorp Tower from The Amazing Spider-Man to be included in the film, but the idea was dropped because much of the skyline had already been completed.
Weta Digital took over duties for animating Iron Man during the forest duel from ILM. Guy Williams, Weta's visual effects supervisor, said, "We shared assets back and forth with ILM, but our pipelines are unique and it's hard for other assets to plug into it. But in this case, we got their models and we had to redo the texture spaces because the way we texture maps is different." Williams said the most difficult part was re-creating Iron Man's reflective metal surfaces.
Scanline VFX completed the reveal shots of the Helicarrier, from the moment Black Widow and Captain America arrive on the carrier deck to the point where it lifts off. Evil Eye Pictures composited digital backgrounds into shots filmed against a greenscreen for scenes taking place inside the Helicarrier. Colin Strause of Hydraulx said, "We did the opening ten minutes of the movie, other than the opening set-up in space" including Loki's arrival on Earth and subsequent escape from the S.H.I.E.L.D. base. Luma Pictures worked on shots featuring the Helicarrier's bridge and incorporated the graphic monitor displays that were developed by Cantina Creative. Fuel VFX completed shots taking place in and around Tony Stark's penthouse at Stark Tower. Digital Domain created the asteroid environment, where Loki encounters The Other. Method Design in Los Angeles created the film's closing credits. Steve Viola, creative director at Method Design, said, "This piece was a two-minute, self-contained main on end sequence created entirely in CG. For each of the shots in the sequence, we designed, modeled, textured, and lit all of the environments and many of the foreground objects. We received assets from Marvel to include in the piece, then heavily re-modeled and re-surfaced them to create a post-battle macro sequence. We also designed a custom typeface for the Main Title of The Avengers as well as 30 credits set in-scene."
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