Led by VFX Supervisor Aymeric Perceval, Cinesite Montreal completed over 160 shots for the critically acclaimed American Gods. They received an Emmy nomination in the category for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for their work.
Working closely with Production VFX Supervisor Kevin Haug, the work involved creating a variety of environments. Throughout production Haug affectionately referred to the Cinesite VFX team as “stormtroopers’’ in recognition of the extensive weather and environment effects that feature throughout the series. The ominous storm, an essential recurring element, was treated like a main character following Mr. Wednesday and Shadow Moon on their road trip. Multiple animated matte paintings of supercells topped up with fx layers of clouds were created across the multiple episodes as well as a variety of CG shots.
Another notable environment Cinesite delivered was the audience’s introduction to Anubis and the variations of the afterlife for Mrs. Fadil’s and Laura’s deaths sequences. The two scenes were shot very differently between two locations, the first one out in Oklahoma with the second on a 12-by-20-foot bluescreen stage in Toronto. The VFX team brought the elements together to create a stylised fantastical desert, halfway between Earth and another dimension. Everything, including the sand on which they stood, was replaced digitally and the sky was altered, adding distant nebulas to give the landscape a realistic sense of depth. The effects team also created different colour palettes to give Laura’s death a more toxic and less peaceful variant than Mrs. Fadil’s.
Further environmental manipulation was called upon by Kevin Haug for the season finale which sees Easter absorbing Spring and bringing back the world to a Winter state. Cinesite’s team digitally created the forest’s seasonal leaf transformation and weather system.