Netflix’s ‘Altered Carbon’: VFX Shaped a Dystopian Cyberpunk World Beyond ‘Blade Runner’

IndieWire | 7/20/2018 | Staff
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Netflix’s “Altered Carbon” (adapted from the novel by Richard Morgan) picks up where “Blade Runner” left off, offering a new twist on dystopian cyberpunk. Set in a future San Francisco, it explores digitized consciousness, disposable humanity, and the class divide. And the Emmy-nominated VFX is a standout for its eye candy and efficiency.

“We always tried to figure out a way to make something really cool, staying on budget and on schedule, with feature quality visual effects at 4K,” said production VFX supervisor Everett Burrell, who collaborated with lead studio Double Negative on more than 1,500 shots.


“Altered Carbon”

In the year 2384, San Francisco has become the multi-tiered Bay City, covered by a cloud blanket and powered by alien tech, including digitized consciousness, ubiquitous AI, and buildings that soar 8,000 feet. First, the rules had to be created for this futuristic society.

Production - Designer - Carey - Meyer - Architecture

“I started with production designer Carey Meyer, who had already looked at architecture, world building, cinematic references [‘Blade Runner,’ ‘The Third Man,’ ‘Touch of Evil’], and commissioned concept art,” Burrell said. “Together we dug deeper into the three levels [of design]: The Grounders were the gritty lower level, Twilight was the upper middle-class, not as atmospheric, and the Aerium was the ultra rich that live high above the clouds.”

Added Meyer: “It was a high-tech web system that allowed for spaces in and among that structure from the ground all the way to the Aerium. And that allowed us the flexibility to write in locations that we could attain in Vancouver and place into the building.”


“Altered Carbon”

DNeg began by building generic city parts (using City Engine modeling software) that could be re-purposed throughout the series. There were nearly 25,000 buildings comprised of more than 100 custom-made structures. At the very top was the luxurious Suntouch. Linking everything was the iconic Golden Gate...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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