Baby Final 1

Watchmen

Client
HBO
Format
TV series
Release Date
21/10/2019
Brief

To deliver over 80 shots across five episodes for the newest iteration of Watchmen, which embraces the nostalgia of the original ground-breaking graphic novel of the same name, while attempting to break new ground of its own.

The Jellyfish Pictures visual effects team made up of 25 artists, worked closely with VFX Supervisor Erik Henry and VFX Producer, Matt Robken, over the course of 11 months to deliver a variety of 80 shots across multiple episodes of the show.

These shots required very specific elements for us to focus on namely; CG deformed babies, glass effects, transitional effects and full digital head replacements.

The largest amount of work came in creating the lifelike CG babies. Built-in Zbrush and Maya, the team at Jellyfish created a number of slightly alien male and female babies, plus alternative limbless variations based on practical reference props used on set, given to us by HBO to use as scale and proportion guides.

Incinerator Babies Final

The challenge was to create something that was familiar and recognisable as a baby but somewhere between foetus and new-born, slightly disproportioned and emancipated. The babies had to react and integrate perfectly with both actors and lighting in the live-action footage. To ensure shots were seamless, additional props had to be created in CG, then lit and composited in Nuke - such as a full interior of a steampunk incubator. To ensure the success of the babies our team paid particular attention to the subtlety of animation used, little short breaths, clenches of fists and correct measures of weighting in the flopping limbs.

In other sequences, the CG team were tasked with creating water simulations in Houdini and Maya to recreate a pool of amniotic-like liquid from which our CG babies rise, in foetal position, skinny and wet. Here we added anti-gravity fluid animation FX, adding to the magic of the sequence.

Baby Boat Final
Baby Final

As multiple cloned characters were quite prolific throughout the series, Jellyfish Pictures were asked to work on numerous shots, with some replacements exceeding 20 heads per shot. Working from retopology head scans initially, and element shoot plates, later on, the team created a library of animated digital heads concentrating on matching the critical proportioning and facial features of the actors on set. Hero heads required individual hair grooms, additional facial animation, wounds and bloodshot eyes. After detailed clean plating of heads of onset extras had been performed, all new heads were composited in Nuke.

In addition to this Jellyfish also provided multiple CG glass visors composites seen throughout the series and an animated CG horseshoe.

Visor and Sword Final