Team is entrusted with matching the director’s iconic style – including environments, creatures and effects – on HBO MAX’s sci-fi drama.
HBO Max’s critically acclaimed science fiction series Raised by Wolves centers on two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious virgin planet. As the burgeoning colony of humans threatens to be torn apart by religious differences, the androids learn that controlling the beliefs of humans is a treacherous and difficult task. The series is produced by Ridley Scott's Scott Free Productions.
Working with overall VFX Supervisor Ray McIntyre Jr. and VFX Producer Ruth Hauer during post-production from June 2019 through summer 2020, Technicolor’s MR. X delivered 476 VFX shots for the series between its Toronto and Bangalore studios.
Drawing from Scott’s sketches and storyboards, MR. X VFX Supervisor Eric Robinson and VFX Producer Sam Banack led the MR. X team to ensure that all the VFX delivered would match Scott’s iconic direction and style. Partnering closely with production, the team did thorough visual research drawing from real world references that would influence the CG environments, creatures and effects they delivered for this otherworldly series.
Robinson notes that it was a very collaborative relationship between production and the MR. X team saying: “This was one of the most fun and most creative shows I’ve worked on in over 11 years at MR. X. We had the trust of the client to offer up ideas. Not all of the ideas stuck, but we persisted, with the goal of giving them some WOW!”
A large portion of the MR. X work centered on the Necromancer, the metallic killer version of the android Mother. In order to deliver a convincing metallic look and feel to the character, the team pulled photo references of the aged bronzed Atlas statue at Rockefeller Center in New York City. This meant drawing from images of Atlas at all times of the day and different lighting conditions (natural light, flash photography) to make sure the bronze would react to its environment in a realistic way.
The musculature of the Necromancer posed a different challenge. The MR. X team had a scan of Mother (Amanda Collin) to base this from – and key proportions needed to match as they transformed from Mother to the Necromancer and back again. Since the Necromancer is an extremely powerful version of the android, and has more muscle than Mother, the team had to make sure that the transformations were subtle and properly contoured around her body.
Mother attacks the Mithraic Arc using a deadly scream attack, gorily obliterating everyone in her path. Drawing from on-set photography and Scott’s concept sketch for the aftermath of the devastating attack, featuring a hallway full of tendrils of blood, the MR. X team went to work to interpret the scene. The scream was an all-in comp effect, utilizing distortions and glows to give the impression of sound waves blasting from Mother’s face toward her targets. In response to the deadly scream attack, the simulation of the blood tendrils needed to have a zero-gravity physicality as well as an otherworldliness feel. The MR. X team had to show the Necromancer had powers far beyond what any human is capable of – once again upping their game working with the sci-fi master.
Watch Raised by Wolves season one on HBO Max.