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axisVFX Delivers Spectacular Effects for 2015 BBC ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special

axisVFX completes more than 120 visual effects shots for the Christmas day broadcast of ‘Doctor Who’ on BBC One.

Bristol, U.K. -- axisVFX, the Bristol and Glasgow-based visual effects studio established by award-winning animation company Axis and visual effects supervisors Grant Hewlett and Howard Jones, has revealed how it created the visual effects for the Christmas day broadcast of Doctor Who.

Selected once again to create out-of-this-world visual effects for the BBC’s flagship Christmas Day episode of Doctor Who, axisVFX completed more than 120 shots for the extraordinary episode, creating spectacular effects and renewing a successful collaboration with director Douglas Mackinnon, executive producer Brian Minchin, producer Nikki Wilson and writer Steven Moffat.

“It’s a pleasure and an honor to work with Douglas, Brian, Nikki and Steven again on Doctor Who,” said axisVFX co-owner and VFX Supervisor Grant Hewlett. “It’s a wonderful episode packed with action and spectacle.”

The work was completed across Axis's two U.K. studios, and the team, led by Hewlett and fellow VFX supervisor Stuart Aitken, worked closely with Mackinnon and Wilson to create the bold and seamless visual effects required, from alien planets and giant robots to galactic star-liners. The team completed a range of work spanning digital matte painting, character animation, fluids and particle simulation work, rigid body simulations and compositing using Maya, Houdini and Nuke.

‘Whilst I was on-set liaising with Douglas throughout the shoot,” said Hewlett, “Stuart worked in parallel, supervising the build of digital assets, creation of concept art and the production of early previz.”

The company uses Autodesk’s Shotgun to review work, and has developed a number of proprietary tools for the seamless delivery of final VFX shot anywhere in the world.

“We engage a huge amount of technical ability, hardware and software to complete the work,” says Hewlett. “But what actually matters is collaboration, listening and bang for buck. It’s a huge honor to contribute again to this iconic sci-fi classic.”

Watch the episode in all its glory on Christmas Day at 5.15pm on BBC One.

Source: axisVFX

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.