Fin Design + Effects

Behind the scenes

Fin’s most recent venture into episodic television can be appreciated in the upcoming second season of Cosmos: Possible Worlds.

With the veteran guidance of the show’s VFX Supervisor, Jeffrey Okun, our team delivered a vast variety of environment work, natural and built, along with augmented visions of the future.

From sun kissed beaches and ancient desert cities, to futuristic museums and space itself, Fin transported the host of the show, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and integrated him precisely into the variously generated environments. The best example of this can be seen in episode 13 when we recreate a 2000-year-old city around Neil as he walks and narrates the finer story points of human and social evolution.

However, our most challenging task came at the very end of the project. We were asked; can we create a sequence where the audience dives into a Martian canyon, flies through said canyon and then blast off into space towards Jupiter? Oh, and, Mars has been terraformed.

With a tight deadline, the team came together and in a mere six weeks created a new vision of Mars – transitioning the planet from a red dust bowl to a lush paradise. Using Houdini to procedurally generate the canyon itself, we then created rock textures and vegetation in Substance, running scripts to cross pollinate the CG environment. Waterfalls needed simulating, a river was generated, and a digital matte painting of space was created.

Add a couple of moons with high resolution textured cities along with some bespoke flying spaceships and a giant Jupiter asset and we hit render on our final shot for Cosmos: Possible Worlds.