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Opus Creates CG Monster for 'Siberia'

Manitoba effects house designs and creates creature for season finale.


Opus Visual Effects designed, created and animated the monster that makes its appearance in the final episode of season one of NBC’s Siberia, helping to create the show’s season cliffhanger. The season finale aired on Monday, September 16, 2013.

The Manitoba-based studio created the visual effects for all 12 episodes of the initial season of this mockumentary, but the coup de grace was the monster that had been hinted at throughout the season and makes its full appearance in the final episode. As early as the pilot, Opus gave viewers a glimpse of the monster, but the full reveal was held until the last.

“Creating the monster was a great opportunity for us,” says Opus visual effects supervisor and president Mike Shand. “It wasn’t just a case of building a model for a design done by the art department. We had only two rough reference photos to work from. Working very closely with the director, we designed the creature, modeled, rigged and animated it. There was a lot of back-and-forth to come up with a creature that would play to the show’s fan-base and would work best for look and production within the show’s timeframe and budget.”

In this scripted “reality” show, 16 participants are flown into the Tunguska region of Siberia unaware of the land's mysterious past. As is the case in many reality shows, the contestants are meant to battle the elements and each other in a quest to survive the harsh winter and claim a large cash prize. Siberia veers from the usual path when contestants begin to suffer serious accidents and strange events occur, with no response from the show’s producers. It soon becomes apparent that their situation is very real. The show ran on Mondays at 10pm, beginning July 1st and ending on September 16th.

Source: Opus FX

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.