Search form

Goodbye Kansas Shares ‘Carnival Row’ VFX Breakdown Reel

From fairytale digital characters to monstrous transformation sequences and crowd simulations, the visual effects studio delivered 123 shots and over 50 character and environment assets for Season 2 of Prime Video’s fantasy series starring Cara Delevigne and Orlando Bloom.

Goodbye Kansas Studios has shared with AWN and VFXWorld their VFX work on Prime Video’s Carnival Row Season 2, an American neo-noir fantasy series that premiered in 2019. The show stars Cara Delevigne and Orlando Bloom as the main characters in a world where mystical creatures are refugees in human society.

The Goodbye Kansas team’s work ranged from fairytale digital characters and monstrous transformation sequences to crowd simulations and entire CG environments. The studio delivered 123 shots and over 50 character and environment assets, created by a team of more than 100 VFX artists and technicians, with VFX supervisor Joel Lindman and animation lead Staffan Linder supervising the VFX, with work done during COVID.

Much of the work involved incorporating the element of fantasy into the Steampunk-style world, digitally transforming characters into their fairytale counterparts, making ample use of motion-capture. In addition, the studio’s team ensured the digital characters fit seamlessly with the scene's visual look while preserving the actors' performances.  

“What was pretty interesting on this show is that we received the plates where they had filmed the human characters and then roto-animated the digital character towards those original shots,” noted Lindman. “We made a model that moves in the same way as the actor in a 3D space.”

Lindman described tracking the camera’s behavior, which fed into the motion-capture studio’s monitor, adding, “In the mocap studio, we could see everything on the monitor while watching the mocap actor walking around in real-time. We could direct the digital character to act against the opposing ‘real-life’ character from the original shooting, all in real-time.”

The process was instrumental in a sequence where Philo (Bloom’s character) faces a nine-foot troll. “That was challenging as we had to consider Orlando [Bloom]’s acting,” noted Linder. “It all had to fit as closely as possible, especially the timing, which is tricky in motion capture as the actor needs to work alongside something that they can only see on the monitor.”

The team brought in other actors to replicate Bloom’s placement and movement.

Added Linder “Of course, we then needed to make the connection between the digital and the real by tweaking positions, as we didn’t have an exact map of the space to work towards.”

One of the challenges faced by the team was working with many different digital characters with many different movements, forcing them to explore the boundaries of their imagination within the confines of real-world physics.

Goodbye Kansas introduced a new form of mocap rig to create more realism in the flying movements; the forked rig attached to the mocap actors hips, allowing movement on all axes as they flew around.

“We had one shot with fairies that flew around with wings, which was filmed on the client's side with real people in the studio,” said Lindman. “When they shot it, they were hanging on wires and acting like they were flying. But the physics of that would actually be different: hanging on a wire is not the same as having the wings on your back, which would pull you up as you fly.”

Check out the Carnival Row S2 - VFX Breakdown by Goodbye Kansas:

The second season of Carnival Row is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Source: Goodbye Kansas

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.