Among the awe-inspiring moments of The Avengers, and the Marvel-universe films Iron Man and Iron Man 2, are the heads up displays, user interfaces, and over-active and futuristic screens that the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents work on. They are an astonishing work of special features, and in detail and complexity, they may be the most impressive piece of post-production work.
The person behind the HUD is visual artist Jayse Hansen, who took the blanks slates of the Helicarrier (that crazy aircraft carrier turned helicopter that half the action takes place on) and turned them into images such a this:
On the Helicarrier
“For the Helicarrier, it was almost an empty slate at the beginning,” explains Hansen. “I started by researching real aircraft carrier screens and then designing based on what purpose each had. We came to the conclusion that Fury’s screens would be the overall screens and he would have a high level view of basically everything in the Helicarrier and the world. There would be map screens with globes. We did a lot of maps on this! It also had security cam footage, and video feeds from news footage. Hill’s (actress Cobie Smulders) screens were more hands-on with detailed views. She wasn’t flying the ship – but she could make things happen from her screen.”
“He’s got a lot of new bells and whistles incorporated into the new suit. It was kind of an open book but the new HUD had to live and feel like the previous ones, although it was more sophisticated and a bit more organic. I’ve got three notebooks that I’ve filled”. Recalling one challenging HUD design where Iron Man is about to attack the aliens and the HUD spins around from a “neutral state” to a new “battle mode,” Hansen says, “Joss wanted that to be really dramatic. He said, ‘Why don’t we spin the HUD and the front of it is the good stuff, but 180 degrees behind him is the battle mode.’ Well, the rig that [fellow artost] Stephen created in After Effects – actually for Iron Man 2 – was never meant to spin around. So we thought, ‘Can we even do that?’ But by the end of the next day I had it spinning. [Director Joss Whedon] loved it.”
Designer Jayse Hansen even allegedly dropped in an Easter Egg, his name. If you look closely at some of the images, you will be able to find “J4YS3.” At this point we cannot confirm that it is anywhere on the image below, but our deepest appreciation and respect to anyone who can.
More photos and concept designs available from Jayse Hensen here.
Full, yet sadly short, interview here.