American Gods

Cinesite joined VFX designer Kevin Tod Haug at an early stage of production, ultimately delivering over 160 VFX shots across 18 different sequences, split over 5 episodes. Created by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green American Gods is based on Neil Gaiman’s much-loved 2001 novel, which tells the story of a modern world on the verge of a conflict between old and new deities.

Haug affectionately referred to the Cinesite VFX team as “stormtroopers’’ in recognition of our extensive environment and weather effects. 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 our team 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.

We are thrilled that American Gods has received a 2017 Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Special Visual Effects category.

  • Release date: 2017
  • Studio: FremantleMedia
  • Director: David Slade
  • Gillian Anderson as Media
  • Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday
  • Ricky Whittle as Shadow Moon