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Cinesite Montreal Releases VFX Breakdown for ‘American Gods’

New video showcases the studio’s visual effects created for the Emmy-nominated Starz series based on the book by Neil Gaiman, including extensive weather and environment effects.

On the heels of its Emmy nomination for Outstanding Special Effects, Cinesite has released a new VFX breakdown video showcasing the studio’s visual effects created for Starz series American Gods.

Led by VFX supervisor Aymeric Perceval, Cinesite Montreal completed more than 160 shots for the critically acclaimed series based on the book by Neil Gaiman.

Working closely with production VFX supervisor Kevin Haug, the work involved creating a variety of environments. Throughout production Haug affectionately referred to the Cinesite VFX team as “Stormtroopers’’ in recognition of the extensive weather and environment effects that feature throughout the series. The ominous storm, an essential recurring element, was treated like a main character following Mr. Wednesday and Shadow Moon on their road trip. Multiple animated matte paintings of supercells topped up with FX layers of clouds were created across the multiple episodes as well as a variety of CG shots.

Another notable environment Cinesite delivered was the audience’s introduction to Anubis and the variations of the afterlife for Mrs. Fadil’s and Laura’s deaths sequences. The two scenes were shot very differently between two locations, the first one out in Oklahoma with the second on a 12-by-20-foot bluescreen stage in Toronto. The VFX team brought the elements together to create a stylized fantastical desert, halfway between Earth and another dimension. Everything, including the sand on which they stood, was replaced digitally and the sky was altered, adding distant nebulas to give the landscape a realistic sense of depth. The effects team also created different color palettes to give Laura’s death a more toxic and less peaceful variant than Mrs. Fadil’s.

Further environmental manipulation was called upon by Haug for the season finale, which sees Easter absorbing Spring and bringing back the world to a Winter state. Cinesite’s team digitally created the forest’s seasonal leaf transformation and weather system.

Source: Cinesite

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.