In the world of superheroes, no two legends loom quite so large as Batman and Superman, and no villain is quite as memorable as Lex Luthor. These legends finally hit the big screen together for the first time, in one of the biggest blockbuster events of 2016. Not only did some of the most popular characters in history fight it out, but they also set up the entire future of DC’s cinematic universe. So when Warner Brothers approached Perception in the summer of 2015 with the task of creating new UIs for Batman and Lex Luthor, our studio jumped at the opportunity. These two interfaces serve as an excellent foil for each other and each plays to its creator’s individual personality. In addition to these two operating systems, Perception worked on Wonder Woman’s laptop, drone POV, show packages, and several other screens throughout the film.
While working on Batman’s user interface, Perception was tasked with creating the look of several screens for the Caped Crusader, the centerpiece of which is a giant display that fills the back wall of the Batcave. Perception also created control screens for the Batwing, Batmobile and several of Batman’s gadgets. Each of these screens has an important function in the film’s storytelling, so the challenge was to make sure they all were consistent with the specific character’s identity.
backwall interface designs
When working in worlds as fantastical as Batman v Superman, the team at Perception always starts the design process grounded in reality and the current technological climate. Since Batman’s tech has always been state of the art, the team researched military avionics, fighter jet heads up displays and tracking systems, using those as the basis for The Dark Knight’s vehicles.
The visual design of Lex Luthor’s operating system was intended to be the polar opposite of Batman’s hacker-like utilitarian UI. Perception developed a multitude of directions and Warner Brothers ultimately selected a UI that is a mix between a real-world consumer-facing operating system and one that is more befitting of Lex Luthor’s over-the-top personality.
In a film as large as Batman v Superman, there is always a vast amount of interface and screen design work that does not fit into any simple category. Whether it’s a sniper scope, rocket launcher tracking system, or show packages, the team at Perception puts the same amount of time and care into crafting each extra bit of content.
Warner Brothers has built an incredibly rich world for these characters, one that will continue to unfold in future movies. Perception had a blast collaborating with Zack Snyder, his crew and the rest of the Warner Brothers team on the inception of that world. It was great to have an opportunity to craft unique new technologies that reflect the powerful personalities of some of the central characters of the emergent DC cinematic universe and we look forward to seeing where they can go from here. Batman v Superman is out now on DVD.
Perception's design is dually focused on both feature film technology visualization & next generation user experience for the world's most innovative companies. We function as strategic design advisors, visionary ideation consultants and architects of the future.