Framestore was tasked with the creation of a specific super-power effect for the season finale and a new manifestation of the seminal cobalt creator Dr. Manhattan. The team explored and developed the different component parts of the energy effects to visualize the scene.
Framestore’s internal art department undertook the initial visual development for the sequence, of which Martin Macrae, Head of Art Department at Framestore said: ‘There are visuals of Doctor Manhattan’s powers all the way through the Watchmen novel and it’s a character that’s always associated with a blue glow of nuclear energy. We wanted to keep that canonical underlying motif but design something that feels fresh and engaging in this new embodiment of the character.’
Once the final look of the component parts was established, the team – led by Ahmed Gharraph, Framestore’s joint head of CG and VFX Supervisor on the project, developed the effects for the scene which is made up of dozens of FX-heavy shots. The team created and animated various multi-layered simulations including an extraction beam, the astral-extraction of the character’s life force, explosive matter and the different forms of slow-motion particulate employed across the sequence.
Talking about the production of the VFX on the sequence, Gharraph said; ‘It’s incredibly fun to work on a sequence like this, as it is with many projects that include magic or other-worldly abilities because there’s no real-world reference. This means we can be really creative with the ideas that we bring to life on the screen.’
Our brief here was to create something that was made up of varying forms of energy and looked and felt incredibly powerful and the team has delivered something really impressive for the series.AHMED GHARRAPH – HEAD OF CG