Freefolk Conjures Up Mythical VFX for Arthurian World of ‘Cursed’
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Freefolk, the London-based Emmy Award-winning post-production and VFX studio, has just shared some news with AWN about its VFX work on the new Netflix fantasy series. Cursed.

Based on the novel for young adults by Frank Miller (executive producer and author of 300) and Thomas Wheeler, Cursed tells the story of Nimue, a young sorceress that scientists believe is destined to be the impressive and mysterious Lady of the To become Lake. The cast includes Katherine Langford (13 reasons why) as Nimue, Devon Terrell as Arthur and Gustaf Skarsgård as Merlin.

The show in the Arthurian Legendarium required a variety of visual effects to create a credible reinterpretation of the mythical world. Freefolk, led by VFX supervisor Steve Murgatroyd, director of CG Harin Hirani, and VFX executive producer Meg Guidon, was commissioned to create large-scale environments for the Fey Camp, the crying monk, and the Convent of Yvoire along with a fully CG photo real to create fawn, CG set extensions, storm atmosphere, elements and complicated design work for the Fingers of Airimid.

Murgatroyd explained the complexity of Airimid's fingers, one of the characteristic effects of the series: “Airimid's fingers appear on the face of Nimue, her mother Lenore and other elders from Fey. The "fingers" have two forms: an angry, spiky look and a magical design that is more like a leaf; The effect is activated when the Fey people are powered by the & # 39; Hidden & # 39; be overtaken. It took a lot of design work to get the final look, but it was well worth it, not only was Netflix thrilled, it was already cursed. ”

Another outstanding sequence created by the Freefolk team is an epic forest area worth 40 seconds that is immersed in flames and burning Moonwing creatures. This inferno takes place when the crying monk sets fire to a Fey Village and the environment is completely designed and modeled in CG. The burning forest behind the weeping monk's blue screen live action sees Moonwings falling from the trees in flames, another pleading Moonwing running on the ground amid a symphony of Houdini simulations of fire, smoke, and embers.

"Cursed is an ambitious fantasy adventure series that was produced for Netflix, so we were looking for partners who could achieve our vision and we had a great experience working with Freefolk," said series producer Alex Boden. "We really appreciated the close collaboration with the entire creative team that delivered some of the key VFX on Cursed and their work on the teaser trailer for the show."

Since the lockout took place three weeks before Cursed's delivery, the entire VFX crew had to move to secure work from home and still delivered all the shots without delay, despite the global pandemic.

Guidon explained that Freefolk's production team managed the sudden shift to remote work from home: “From a technical point of view, we had been preparing for the inevitable for about a month before we were banned and our brilliant technical team worked hard to do it achieve safe remote working for everyone. "

She continued, "It also required remote wrangling and efficient line production skills to ensure that the workflow didn't stall – with a strict daily newspaper and note editing routine. We already had a customized pipeline to deal with to meet the Netflix delivery specifications, but soon had a solid remote pipeline in place so that we could continue smoothly. This work practice is now geared towards the future. ”

Cursed premiered worldwide on Netflix on July 17.

Dan Sarto's picture

Dan Sarto is the editor and editor-in-chief of Animation World Network.

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