From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series centers on the story of the Gecko brothers and expands on the horror film franchise developed by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. In a world filled with crime and Culebras (immortal reptilian vampires), the television series required skilled VFX work from the team at Muse VFX. Tackling everything from Culebra transformations, blood splattered scenes and vampire immolations, Muse VFX used Fusion Studio and Generation, Fusion’s multi-user management software, as the backbone of its pipeline.
“Episodic work requires feature film quality,” said Fred Pienkos, founder and VFX supervisor. The Hollywood VFX boutique tackles big work without having to have a huge team, and relies on Fusion’s customization abilities to collaborate and speed up the VFX process. With Fusion, the company was able to design an effect and then efficiently repurpose the nodes, macros and elements across the team and project to maintain high quality and consistency from shot to shot.
“The combination of good special effects and visual effects always leads to the best results,” said John Gross, founder and creative director at Muse VFX. “On From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, the makeup FX team did a fantastic job designing the Culebra look. One of our jobs with Fusion is to handle the transition from human to Culebra both seamlessly and believably, mixing reality with the supernatural.”
“It’s also up to us to tackle the non-practical blood,” added Pienkos. “With horror at its core, blood is a large part of the show’s storytelling. It can be subtle or hit the audience over the head, but its look has to be consistent and authentic throughout the series. There was attention given to trying to get the color exactly right and Fusion guarantees the blood will be the exact crimson color that we need every time, regardless of the different environments and lighting conditions.”
Recently, the Muse VFX team was challenged with a particularly tricky scene that required a CG shot of an eight-foot long, two-headed snake. An actress was shot holding a real snake and then the Muse VFX team was charged with replacing its tail with a secondary head.
“Doing VFX for half of the snake posed certain challenges because it had to match the lighting and coloring of the real half, down to how light refracted off its scales,” explained Pienkos. “What’s nice about using Fusion is the stability and speed, empowering us to get things done. Without having to worry about technical issues, we’re able to focus on the task at hand — in this case, a mythical and mysterious serpent.”