Exclusive: Warren Manser Talks Designing MAN OF STEEL Costume Concept Art

One of the most talked about features of Man of Steel is the updated costume. Warren Manser is a professional concept artist who's worked on blockbuster films like The Dark Knight Rises (2012), A.I. Artificial Intelligence(2001) and the Transformers films and he helped design Superman's controversial costume.

Did Zack Snyder really look at over a thousand versions of the costume before giving up on the "red underpants?" What inspired the design of the costume?

Find out the answers to these question and see more of the pictures after the jump and click to enlarge.

Welcome Warren, so how did you get the job working on Man of Steel?
I was contacted by Jim Acheson at the end of 2010 about a project that he was certain would interest me. We had worked together on Spider-Man one and three, and Daredevil. Jim knew that I was a fan of the superhero genre and could contribute not only with character concept art, but with a working knowledge of how to help fabricate a supersuit.

Within a few days, I was on board.

It sounds like a dream job. What did you work on for the film?
I worked exclusively on Superman's suit. The other Kryptonian undersuits were variations of that design, so those were included. I've never had an experience quite like it, and to say that I was excited is an understatement. I created numerous concepts of the Man of Steel, which eventually evolved into the final design.

Zack Snyder was 'hands on' in the process and provided us with great direction. We discussed the specifications and manufacturing techniques we needed to accomplish, and I even created some visual diagrams to aid in communicating the plan.

From there I worked with vendors, costumers, 3D artists, and fabricators to help realize the final product. What I really like about the approach was that we employed both traditional and modern fabrication methods. Incredible hand crafted quality merged with digitally created costume elements, and I was right there in the middle of it. I couldn't have been happier.

What kind of research did you do for the designs? Is there a specific source for your inspiration?
Costume designer Michael Wilkinson's "Neo-Medieval" description is very accurate. The Kryptonian council was antiquated and part of a dying culture, and I think their costumes reflected exactly that.

Phillip Boutte Jr. created many concepts for those characters, so I'd refer to him for a more detailed analysis. In general, I thought the Kryptonians had very elegant and organic lines.

My inspiration was to use those types of lines to create a feeling of movement without distracting from the overall strength of Superman's posture or form. I also had the best research - 75 years of Superman artwork.

Zack Snyder said he looked at "1,500" versions of the costume before giving up on the costume with the red briefs. When designing the costume, how long were the "underpants" on the outside of the costume?
I recall hearing the term 'due diligence' in reference to the Superman suit and specifically to the red briefs. It was extremely important that we created a costume that would respect the Man of Steel's origins while taking him to a new level. I don't even want to venture a guess at the number of variations, but he may not be too far off. I had so many photoshop layers that I lost count.

Unfortunately, I cannot recall a timeframe, but when our director was satisfied that we exhausted all plausible avenues, he made the call. We said goodbye to the red briefs!

Most people say they don't miss them, but he tried. What was it like working with the team on this film?
Every part was interesting, and I had fun with everyone. Perhaps most interesting was to see how everyone does their part. You can quickly find out how things work by simply finding out people's concerns and how to address them.

It sounds like a great experience. So, where can we see your work next?
 I've posted numerous MOS costume concept images and personal projects on my website - www.warrenmanser.com. After I wrapped on Man of Steel pre-production, I worked with Warner Bros. Consumer Products on their style guide. I created many high resolution renderings of Superman, and even a General Zod. They're on my site as well.

My current film projects are still under wraps, but I'll be glad to share them when the time is right. I've also ventured out into social media with The Art of Warren Manser on Facebook.

Click on the links if you want to see more of Man of Steel concept art on my blog.

Official Man of Steel Synopsis
From Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures comes "Man of Steel," starring Henry Cavill in the role of Clark Kent/Superman, under the direction of Zack Snyder ("300,""Watchmen"). The film also stars three-time Oscar® nominee Amy Adams as Daily Planet journalist Lois Lane, and Oscar® nominee Laurence Fishburne as her editor-in-chief, Perry White. Starring as Clark Kent's adoptive parents, Martha and Jonathan Kent, are Oscar® nominee Diane Lane and Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner. Squaring off against the superhero are two other surviving Kryptonians, the villainous General Zod, played by Oscar® nominee Michael Shannon, and Faora, Zod's evil partner, played by Antje Traue. Also from Superman's native Krypton are Lara Lor-Van, Superman's mother, played by Ayelet Zurer, and Superman's father, Jor-El, portrayed by Academy Award® winner Russell Crowe.

Official Site: manofsteel.warnerbros.com

Directed by Zack Snyder

Cinematography by Amir Mokri

Production Designer: Alex McDowell

Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Laurence Fishburne, Antje Traue, Ayelet Zurer, Russell Crowe

Release Date: June 14, 2013

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