It is the first animated feature film in the Spider-Man franchise, and is set in a shared multiverse called the “Spider-Verse”, which has alternate universes. The film was directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman from a screenplay by Phil Lord and Rothman and a story by Lord. The film stars Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, and Liev Schreiber. In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Miles Morales becomes one of many Spider-Men as they team up to save New York City from Kingpin.
Lord and Miller wanted the film to feel like “you walked inside a comic book”, and were excited to tell the story in a way that the live-action films could not. Persichetti concurred, feeling that animation was the best medium with which to honor the style of the comics, allowing the production team to adapt 70-year-old techniques seen in comic artwork into the film’s visual language. Completing the animation for the film required up to 140 animators, the largest crew ever used by Sony Pictures Animation for a film to date.
The CGI animation for the film was combined with “line work and painting and dots and all sorts of comic book techniques” to make it look like it was created by hand, which was described as “a living painting”. This was achieved by artists taking rendered frames from the CGI animators and working on top of them in 2D, with the goal of making every frame of the film “look like a comic panel”. Lord described this style of animation as “totally revolutionary”, and explained that the design combines the in-house style of Sony Pictures Animation with the “flavor” of comic artists such as Sara Pichelli (who co-created Miles Morales) and Robbi Rodriguez. To make it feel more like a comic book, it was animated without motion blur, and rather than using animation principles like squash and stretch they came up with substitute versions of them; “so that in texture and feel it felt different, but it still achieved the same goal — to either feel weight or anticipation or impact or things like that”.
The film’s directors all felt that the film would be one of the few that audiences actually “need” to watch in 3D due to the immersive nature of the animated world created, and the way that the hand-drawn animation elements created specifically for the film create a unique experience; Persichetti described this experience as a combination of the effects of an old-fashioned hand-drawn multiplane camera and a modern virtual reality environment. (read more)