A new piece diving into the history and creation of the visual effects for 2008’s Iron Man and specifically the original HUD reveals that iPhone was one of the driving inspirations.

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vfxblog covers the fascinating details in the article, Heads up: the oral history of Iron Man’s original HUD. Coming first hand from the visual effects and HUD supervisors, director Jon Favreau said they he wanted Iron Man’s HUD to mirror the intuitive feel of the original iPhone.

Kent Seki, visualisation/HUD effects supervisor from Pixel Liberation Front shared that while there were a mix of philosophies that contributed to the final HUD seen in the movie, iPhone was at the core of it all.

There were many rules and driving philosophies we established along the way that led us to the final product. I remember in an early discussion in post-production with Jon Favreau. He pulled out his iPhone, which was a new thing at the time. He said, ‘I don’t want to tell you a specific graphic to make for the HUD, but I want it to feel intuitive like my iPhone.’

Dav Rauch, HUD design supervisor of The Orphanage elaborated on how the original iPhone had come out just before a meeting with Favreau, how they “geeked out” on their new Apple smartphones, and how its novel and intuitive interface influenced the Iron Man HUD.

The iPhone had just come out like literally a week or two before the meeting with Jon – and I got an iPhone and Favreau had gotten an iPhone. When I was down there we kind of geeked out on our iPhones, and we were talking about what we liked about the iPhone because he was really inspired by it. He was like, ‘What I love about this thing is it just kind of does what it should do, and it kind of does what I want it to do and it’s very intuitive and it’s very simple.’ We opened it up and I was looking at the transitions in an iPhone. I’m like, ‘These transitions are so simple and they’re just like zooming transitions, or wipe transitions. There’s nothing fancy about this phone, but what’s fancy about this phone is that it works and it works really well.’

The full article is a fascinating read, check it out here.


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