Watchmen

(2019)

Watchmen, in its original graphic novel form (published by DC Comics in 1986-1987), is legendary. Ever since the release of the comics, which was adapted for the big screen a decade ago by Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead, 300, Man of Steel, Justice League), fans have been craving for more.

Last year, the long wait finally came to an end when the critically acclaimed live-action follow-up series aired on HBO (now available on Amazon Prime). Hybride reunited with Visual Effects Supervisor Erik Henry to 'watch over the Watchmen', by creating a variety of impressive VFX, including squids (loads of them), one of Jupiter's moons, and a message written in frozen corpses...


 

HBO'S WATCHMEN
HBO'S WATCHMEN

It's raining... squids ?! 

Setting the tone for this 2019 version of Watchmen, Hybride's most creative VFX work in Episode 1 translated into squids raining down on the city of Tulsa Oklahoma.

The sequence refers to the Watchmen original graphic novel's ending, where a giant psychic squid is teleported into the center of New York City the center of New York City by Adrian Veidt on November 2, 1985. As Veidt predicted, world leaders believed the Earth was under attack by an alien menace and came together-ending the threat of nuclear war-to fight the new enemy.

SQUID RAIN
SQUID RAIN

As a reminder of this strange event, squids regularly rain down onto the city where residents seem relatively unfazed by the event. In this sequence, Hybride's extensive experience was deployed to create these tiny creatures that start dissolving once they've been in contact with the Earth's atmosphere. During their transformation, the squids needed to still be identifiable and preserve certain proprieties like viscosity, texture, density and transparency.

SQUID RAIN
SQUID RAIN
SQUIDS
SQUIDS

Since each of them needed to dynamically interact with one another and their surrounding environments, several object resolutions were established to manage the high volume of squid and the varying distances between them in each frame.

Europa

Later in the show, audiences are catapulted onto Europa - one of Jupiter's moons-where Adrian Veidt has been exiled by Doctor Manhattan as punishment for releasing the giant squid.

 

In the early stages of the project, Senior Visual Effects Supervisor Erik Henry spoke to a mission scientist from Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Clipper mission, which is actually scheduled to land on Europa this decade, who was able to describe the planet's temperature and luminance, as well as it's surface. 
 

EUROPA
EUROPA

This allowed Hybride artists to create the environment as accurately as possible and recreate its unique atmosphere. The team also created various digi-doubles of the Crookshanks and Philips characters, each with three or four variations of clothing and used ragdoll simulations to generate frozen dead bodies falling to the ground. Thousands of bodies were then scattered across the moon's surface to form the words "save me".

Additional visual effects produced by Hybride for the show include:

  • The creation of a complex set extensions, monitor content inserts (motion graphics) and baby squids for the Squid Room where the squid are created;
  • Crowds of digital soldiers, airplane, propaganda flyers falling from the sky for the WW1 flashback scene;
  • Face replacements, photo-real 3D CG fire, smoke and embers for the box enclosure located on a stage where Veidt burn his victims during a play he puts on to the story of Doctor Manhattan's origins.



Both fans and critics alike acclaimed the Watchmen series, which scored 95% on Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer. It is unsure, however, if there are plans for Dr. Manhattan to return. Fingers crossed!

Credits

Watchmen (2019)

Season 1 (9 episodes)


Aired from October 20 to December 15, 2019, on Home Box Office (HBO),
produced by DC Comics. Now available on Amazon Prime.

Directors: Steph Green, Nicole Kassell, Adrij Parekh and Stephen Williams 

Senior Visual Effects Supervisor: Erik Henry

VFX Workload: 265 shots 

Cumulative Duration: 24.5 minutes

Project Timeframe: 17 months (July 2018 to November 2019)

VFX Description: Design, tracking, layout, lighting, texture, modeling, animation, compositing.

See more creditsSee less credits
LAYOUT / TRACKING

Steve Pelchat, (lead layout/tracking)

Alain Lacroix

Benoit Morin

Samuel Loriault-Goulet

Yassine Triki

TEXTURE & LIGHTING

Christophe Damiano, (lead textures/lighting)

Maryse Bouchard, (lead textures/lighting)

Alexandre Tessier

Christian Menard

David Dambremont

Doréa Fontaine

Gabrielle Marchand

Ian Allard

Marie-Claude Aubry

Mathieu Beaudoin

Maxime Vysniausk

Mélissa Almeida

Nicolas Leroy

Robert Buca

Samuel Jacques

Steve Fraser

Valérie Villeneuve

Vassilios Lanaris

FX ANIMATORS

Danny Levesque (Lead FX Animator)

Bertrand Cabrol

Dang Vy Nguyen

Francis Beauregard

Frédéric Fortin

Glenn Curry

Jérémie Chagnon

Julien Dubusset

Kishen PJ

Louis Desrochers

Luigi Duranti

Richard Clément Tam

Stéphane Arsenault

TECHNICAL DIRECTORS

Patrick Piche, (lead technical director)

Bruno-Pierre Jobin

Daniel Bros

John Mark Gibbons

Jimmy Caron

Mathieu Leclaire

Michel Bergeron

DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT ARTIST

Michael Havart

Antoine Goncalves

MODELERS

Marco Tremblay, (Environment Supervisor)

David Roberge

Mathieu Lalonde

Matthew Smith

Miguel Berube Ouellet

Philippe Vachon

Robert De La Cruz

Varun Sanjivi

Vikramjit Sorensangbam

ANIMATORS

Alexandre Alin

Eduardo Azcue

Jordan Benning

Josef Sy

Marc Aubry

Mary Yang

William Campbell

PRESIDENT AND HEAD OF PRODUCTION

Pierre Raymond

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

Michel Murdock

PRODUCTION VICE PRESIDENT

Thierry Delattre

HEAD OF PRODUCTION MONTREAL STUDIO

Mathieu Boucher

VISUAL EFFECTS SUPERVISOR

François Lambert

VISUAL EFFECT PRODUCERS

Louise Bertrand

Richard Martin

Sébastien Racine

Yanick Wilisky

COMPOSITING SUPERVISORS

Ashish Dewan

Michel Barrière

Olivier Beaulieu

Paul Saint-Hilaire

Simon Marinof

ANIMATION SUPERVISOR

Kenneth Steel

COMPUTER GRAPHICS SUPERVISORS

Christopher Ahrens

Emmanuel Pelletier

Philippe Théroux

VISUAL EFFECT COORDINATORS

Audrey Deschênes

Caitlin Howell

Karina Mariano

Leo-Partick Houde

Marc St-Gelais

Marlène Circé

Martine Losier

Yann Nicolas

RESSOURCE COORDINATOR

Sylvain Rioux

TECHNICAL SUPPORT

Jason Bohbot

Karim Besbes

Luc Desmarais

Mélanie Cotton

Olivier Painchaud

Stephan Gervais

COMMUNICATIONS

Sylvie Talbot

Anne Tremblay

ADMINISTRATION

Caroline Bélisle

Isabelle Desrochers

Marie Nakhlé

DIGITAL COMPOSITORS

Jérôme Foucout (Lead Digital Compositor)

Martin Lipmann (Lead Digital Compositor)

Alban Kasikci

Alice Pépujol

Belly Mingmuong

Benoit Legrois

Carl St-Pierre

Charles Tremblay

Cynthia Rodriguez

Daniel Cregan

Éloi Brunelle

Elsa Lemire

Fabien Felicite-Zulma

François Leduc

Francis Pasquarelli

Gabriel Couture-Bojanowski

Jeffrey Jin

Julie Therrien

Justin Hébert

Louis-Alexandre Lord

Marc Taganas

Marc-Olivier Simoneau

Mathieu Boudreau

Matthieu Chatelier

Mauricio Salas

Maxime Besner

Maxime Ferland

Olivier Gravel

Patrick Tassé

Samuel Lepage-Bédard

Thomas Hallé

Véronique Guay

Vincent Mak

Xavier Larocque

MOTION GRAPHICS

Edouard Buttiero

PAINT & ROTO

Juliette Compignie (Lead Paint & Roto )

Anne Fortin

Cédric Pépin

Charles-Étienne D'Amours

Christophe Trudel

Dominique Richer

Érika Normandin

James Daniel Haines

Jeff Blouin

Léa Vuillemin

Marie-Eve St-Amour

Mélissa Laframboise Maillé

Sylvain Régnié

Yannick Bissonnette

CHARACTER RIGGING

Mark Masson, (lead character rigging)

Stephane Jean-Mary

VFX EDITORS

Guillaume St-Aubin

Sébastien Rioux

I/O TECHNICIANS

Jonathan Perth

Jordan Picotte

Samuel Cardinal