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CoSA VFX Goes Invisible for ‘Your Honor’ Season 2 Visual Effects

The VFX studio helps enhance the drama, add realism, and ensure continuity on Showtime’s legal drama starring Bryan Cranston as a disgraced judge, now airing and also streaming on Paramount+.

CoSA VFX has shared its recent work as the primary VFX vendor for Showtime’s legal drama Your Honor Season 2, starring Bryan Cranston, now airing on Showtime and streaming on Paramount+.

In the new season, Cranston returns as ex-judge Michael Desiato, a man forced to face the wreckage of his former life. Disbarred, disgraced, and all but destroyed, nothing can bring him back from the brink until a federal agent coerces him into a scheme to take down the Baxter family. Revenge can’t return all he’s lost, but redemption offers a ray of hope. He has a chance to strike a blow against the empire of corruption and vengeance that runs New Orleans, but will it be enough to lay his ghosts to rest?

The VFX team’s job was to ensure all visual effects were realistic and seamlessly woven into the narrative, so what followed was the delivery of many “invisible effects” created for the season premiere and subsequent episodes.

Season 2 opens with a rodeo bullfight inside a prison. To populate the crowd and maintain continuity, the VFX team started with a LIDAR scan of the stadium, recreating it virtually before populating it with crowd simulation software. For close-ups, the team used a tiling system based on an in-house proprietary tool developed for crowd systems that uses footage of actual people shot on a greenscreen.

The bull presented other challenges. Although only one appears in the sequence, Your Honor actually used three bulls – one that was more docile and safer to have around the stunt people and actors, a “hero bull” used for its look, and the most dangerous one referred to as the “action bull.” The latter looked menacing, though unlike the other bulls, it did not have full horns. Visual effects allowed the team to create the ideal bull, first removing the practical horns and then replacing them with computer-generated ones, maintaining the same animal's appearance for continuity throughout the sequence. For non-hero shots, the team used some compositing tricks to get the same desired effect without needing a 3D render.

In addition to enhancing the bull and crowds, set extensions and other elements created by the Environments team made the prison look like it was in a southern U.S. state (the series’ story takes place in Louisiana)

Finally, the CoSA team created visual effects for a major season premiere plot point. Michael (Cranston’s character) has an emaciated look resulting from an extended hunger strike. The compositing team achieved the appearance first with input from the VFX studio’s Digital Makeup, then using body modification techniques in compositing to warp the character’s body and re-create the background to achieve the character’s final look on screen.

Source: CoSA VFX

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.