LONDON — Freefolk, the Soho-based VFX studio, delivered a substantial amount of work for the TNT/Netflix show, The Alienist. The dramatic series is based on a novel by Caleb Carr and stars Daniel Brühl, Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. The show follows the story of a serial killer in New York City during the late 19th century, and as such, much of the studios visual effects work involved recreating 1896 New York.
Freefolk worked closely with the series’ VFX supervisor Kent Houston and VFX producer Wendy Garfinkle, to create a wide range of shots and sequences. The studio’s team was lead by VFX supervisor Steve Murgatroyd.
Some of their work on the show included building Washington Square, Stuyvesant Square and the Greenpoint docks. Freefolk also extended many of the production’s practical sets, which were constructed on a lot in Budapest. The largest build for the 3D team involved The Bowery, with it's overhead railroad track and trodden establishments.
“The nature of the work on The Alienist meant it made sense to use the unrivalled talents of our head of 2D, Steve Murgatroyd as VFX supervisor,” explains Freefolk managing director, Justine White. “His wealth of film experience and artistic eye meant he was the perfect fit. Steve, along with VFX producer Tony Willis, and the whole team, worked hard to produce VFX I’m incredibly proud of.”
SideFX’s Houdini was used for smoke effects, including the CG train shots and Bowery, as well as for water simulation, including the steamboat scenes. A custom building generator tool within Maya was written to populate and layout the CG environments for large-scale set extensions. Foundry’s Nuke was used for all compositing. And Speedtree was used for creating trees, including those seen in Stuyvesant Square and Washington Square, and along side Episode 105’s train shot.
The Alienist is currently streaming on Netflix.