Deadpool's awesome, super-meta titles sequence introduces Colossus as "an entirely CGI character." The Russian mutant is just one of the incredible achievements made by Tim Miller's VFX department.
So if, like me, you're the kind of person who completely geeks out at seeing before-and-after visual effects strips, or you really want to know the secret to the world-first technology that made the merc's mask emote, let's take a peek behind the curtain of Deadpool's VFX.
The film's incredible freeway chase? Prepare to have your illusions shattered: The whole thing was shot on green screen. Because no freeway could be cleared for long enough to film a stunt sequence so intense, the scene was recreated in the studio with mock-up vehicle interiors.
Real footage of a Detroit freeway was projected with LED light boxes against the green-screen backdrop, and details of the city skyline and freeway traffic were later added digitally. Not that you'd ever have guessed.
Numerous actors were utilized to mould Colossus at various stages of the VFX process. Andre Tricoteux was responsible for on-set motion capture; the mutant's face was modeled digitally on motion capture supervisor Greg LaSalle; and his voice belongs to Serbian actor Stefan Kapicic.
To make Colossus's steel skin look as realistic as possible, the team constantly had to alter the lighting on set, ensuring that it reflected light in a certain way, regardless of the changing weather conditions throughout the shoot.
And the scene at Francis's torture warehouse, where Wade is mutilated and creates a burning inferno to engineer his escape? Those flames were entirely CGI. Because the team at Rodeo FX didn't want the fire to look "flat," certain objects in the warehouse were recreated in half scale and set on fire then layered in during post-production, thus improving depth-of-field realism.
Another problem encountered was that Ryan Reynolds' facial movements were lost behind the Deadpool mask, so Weta Digital created around 250 2D facial animation shots to capture smaller expressive tics.
Once a certain amount of presets were captured, they could be superimposed onto other footage to make sure every shot featured maximum Reynolds emote, a method so innovative it almost certainly hasn't been used in any other superhero movie before.
If you're a truly huge VFX nerd and you'd like to go way, way more in depth with this, then read the quotes from the visual effects teams who worked on the movie, right here on fxguide. They're filled with jargon that went slightly over my uneducated head.
Now, when you see Deadpool a second (or third, or fourth) time at the theater, you might discover a new appreciation for the way the sun glints off Colossus's skin at just the right moment. Thank God for computers.