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Rodeo FX Shares ‘Monarch: Legacy of Monsters’ VFX Reel

The VFX studio awakens the monsters in Legendary Picture’s latest Apple TV+ series starring Kurt Russell, Wyatt Russell, and Anna Sawai, which follows survivors of Godzilla’s attack on San Francisco as they grapple with the Secret Monarch organization.

Rodeo FX has shared a VFX breakdown reel highlighting its work on Legendary Picture’s latest series, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. The studio, which lent its expertise to Legendary’s 2019 King of the Monsters, delivered 300 shots, four sequences, 121 assets, and 18,233 frames while overseeing a crew of 577 for the new series.

The action-adventure series, created for Apple TV+, stars Kurt Russell, Wyatt Russell, and Anna Sawai and follows survivors of Godzilla’s attack on San Francisco. It delves into the secret operations of the Monarch organization as they grapple with a hidden realm of giant monsters.

The series' debut episode takes audiences into the depths of a plutonium plant, which quickly establishes itself as a pivotal setting. To create a sprawling, epic-scale facility, the team expanded the set, crafting subterranean areas brimming with debris and the foreboding presence of glowing eggs.

Under the guidance of concept artists, the team integrated static elements and background compositions. In this sequence, Monarch scientists confront a swarm of creatures emerging from the bowels of an abandoned energy plant: the Endoswarm. Drawing from the initial previs provided by the client, the Rodeo FX team established that the insects were meant to converge and form a towering mass that would ensnare the fleeing characters. However, conventional crowd simulation systems proved inadequate due to the intricate layering of elements. To construct a cohesive structure, Rodeo’s artists opted to deconstruct it instead. To encapsulate each Endoswarmer (dubbed “Jelly Beans”) the team simulated the swarm as beans falling to the ground, then played it in reverse, which enabled the choreography of precise movement. The fully developed Endoswarmer is showcased in the climactic episodes.

In the desert, a fateful encounter finds the King of Monsters lying dormant beneath a mountain shaped to mirror his form. The team’s focus then shifted to an intricate ballet of destruction and continuity unfolding as Godzilla emerges from the sand, unleashing a massive shockwave. Through a fusion of CG elements and CG doubles, the team recreated the pandemonium and devastation as the ground gives way beneath the scientists' feet, bringing them face to face with the perilous (and legendary) creature. Rodeo FX’s animation team collaborated closely with its FX department to create the impactful sequence.

Watch Monarch: Legacy of Monsters VFX Breakdown by Rodeo FX:

Source: Rodeo FX

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.