Emmy-winning entertainment company Zoic Studios adds a dash of fantastical wonder to the post-apocalyptic world of the new Netflix series “Sweet Tooth.”
From CG tigers and elephants to sweeping set extensions depicting the dilapidated city at the backdrop of the story, the company, led by VFX Supervisor Rob Price, crafted nearly 1,000 VFX shots for the debut season. “Sweet Tooth,” which currently boasts an impressive 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, is an original series based on the DC comic series by Jeff Lemire that follows a boy that is half-human and half-deer that survives in a post-apocalyptic world with other hybrids.
Price and the Zoic team worked closely with creators Jim Mackie and Beth Schwartz to carefully craft the world of “Sweet Tooth” that centered on nature’s reclamation of earth amidst a powerful global reckoning. With a focus on capturing as much practically as possible, Zoic elevated the in-camera visuals to achieve a final look that was grounded in realism with a touch of dystopian fantasy.
A key VFX element for the Zoic team on “Sweet Tooth” was achieving a hyper-realistic visual aesthetic for the leading character, Bobby. The character was filmed practically as an intricate animatronic puppet, with Zoic amplifying the on-screen puppet with carefully crafted VFX to augment the character’s realism as well as crafting full CG digital doubles for some of the character's more action-packed sequences.
Zoic Studios met the demanding range of VFX needs for this series by leveraging their real-time filmmaking capabilities. With an eye towards safer sets amidst the pandemic, they utilized an LED wall to create real-time virtual backgrounds that allowed for unprecedented level of visual interaction on set as well as heightened safety initiatives.
Zoic’s Real Time Group virtual art department also provided assets in previsualization that allowed the series’ creative team to optimize set design, lighting, lensing and camera ahead of shooting. These pre-rendered assets, combined with the on-set virtual production, helped the team craft film-quality visual effects for the comic-based series while continuing to deliver on an accelerated television timeline.