Marvel VFX Supervisor Cites Industry-Wide Issue Amid CGI Debate

By Klein Felt Updated:
Paul Rudd Ant-Man in Quantumania

Amid the MCU's ongoing CGI debate, one Marvel VFX supervisor has criticized another aspect they think is plaguing the super-powered franchise. 

Marvel Studios' interconnected on-screen universe has become the target of much vitriol across Phase 4 and Phase 5, as fans began picking out what they deemed as "really ugly" CGI and VFX work

The VFX industry has even spoken out about this subject, bringing forth issues of burnout, mental health problems, and even - in some cases - suicide. 

Some Marvel VFX artists have even gone as far as to take steps toward unionization (via The Hollywood Reporter) in an effort to create a better working environment for the effects houses that work with the studio. 

Marvel VFX Supervisor Calls Out Story Waste

Pip the Troll, Eternals post-credits scene

Stephane Ceretti, a veteran VFX supervisor who has worked on 8 Marvel Studios films including Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Eternals, cited "lousy scripts" as the source of recent woes, not the often-referenced CGI. 

Responding to comedian Adam Conover's recent criticism of today's visual effects industry, Ceretti - who is set to work on James Gunn's Superman: Legacy - defended his associates on X/Twitter, pointing to having to "spend our time fixing [lousy scripts] in post instead of doing the cool stuff:"

"Hey Adam Conover the hundreds of artists that work on movies and TV shows would like to have a word with you about the lousy scripts we spend our time fixing in post instead of doing the cool stuff. Thank you. My god we can’t get any respite these days can we?"

He noted in a follow-up post saying that he "can see [Conover's] saying it's the fault of the people who want faster cheaper," but with Conover being a writer, he pondered, "How can [he] explain [himself] so poorly:"

"I watched the entire thing. But in this section he clearly says that everything now looks like shit, blames it on rotoscoping (huh???)...I guess I can see he's saying it's the fault of the people who want faster cheaper, but he's a writer!! how can you explain yourself so poorly?"

Conover replied to his controversial comments as well, remarking his "criticism is of the bosses, for using VFX as a tool to cut costs" and he "apologize[s] for not making that more clear:"

"My first job in media was as a VFX artist, and I have enormous respect for them and their work. My criticism is of the bosses, for using VFX as a tool to cut costs, underpaying artists, and forcing them to work under brutal conditions. I apologize for not making that more clear."

He also responded to Ceretti's criticism of his comments, saying he "very much apologize[s]:"

"Hey Stephane - I very much apologize; my intent was not at all to degrade VFX workers, who I fully support."

To which Ceretti thanked Conover for replying, noting the industry is "very twitchy right now:"

"Thanks for reaching out. It was so poorly worded man. We’re very twitchy right now about so much bashing happening with hate for CGI and articles that negate the work so many VFX artists do with passion and love. We should have a talk"

"Like all of these things it’s a very complicated subject and there’s more to it than soundbites," Ceretti continued, pushing for better compensation and workplace environments for all creatives:

"Like all of these things it’s a very complicated subject and there’s more to it than soundbites and oversimplifications. I like you am for proper compensation and protection for all the workers."

Where Does Marvel's Creative Problem Lie?

Tensions are high when it comes to the people behind the scenes who make some of these massive Marvel projects happen, and this whole exchange is a perfect example of that. 

Many have written up Marvel Studios' recent failings to shawty or lackluster CGI, but as Stephane Ceretti pointed out in his above comments this is a "very complicated subject." And as is the case in most nuanced multi-layered issues, there is likely no one sticking point for everyone to point to. 

What seems to be the recurrent talking point is the idea of "compensation and protection" for Marvel's creatives. 

Whether it is scripts being thrown together at the last second or VFX artists burning out to get that one final battle scene rendered, one common thread seems to be Marvel Studios itself. 

Most of these issues seem to be contingent on either under preparation from Marvel or a lack of creative control given to those making these super-powered epics happen. 

Until major change can happen at Marvel and across the industry, stories such as this will sadly keep bubbling to the surface.

- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.