Doctor Who Series 9 Episode 2: The Witch’s Familiar

TV Drama, 2015

Milk created all the visual effects for the much-anticipated Doctor Who series nine. The second episode entitled “The Witch’s Familiar” aired on 26th September 2015.

The visual effects included a full CG environment to represent the Dalek city on the planet Skaro and full CG snakes.

Stay tuned guys…video coming soon!

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Number of shots: 90
Duration of production: May-July 2015 (3 months)

Key challenges included:
Milk designed and created a full CG environment to represent the Dalek city on the planet Skaro. Milk built the city asset as a 3D asset created in Cinema 4D, which allowed fly over and fly through shots and it was used later to establish Skaro geography. Milk created concept designs based on vintage Doctor Who comics from the 1960s.

The Director
Hettie McDonald wanted to achieve a realistic feel so that the audience imagined they were in the city. Milk populated the Dalek city environment with Daleks flying, moving around and interacting with each other and the environment. This was achieved by setting up a particle simulation with basic rules and behaviour patterns and then instancing detailed Dalek geometry onto the points at render time.

The Milk compositing team then integrated the Dalek city into the live action plates shot on location in Tenerife.

The Doctor attacked by snakes
Milk created full CG snakes that attack the Doctor, coiling around his body to restrain him. We needed to obtain a very accurate body track of Peter Capaldi’s movements as he tries to resist them. Milk hand animated some “hero” snakes – to work with Capaldi’s movements – in key areas with the main mass being dealt with as a simulation based task. This was done by flowing particles across the surface of the body track to produce curves that controlled the high-resolution snake geometry.

Software used:
Rendering in Arnold
Cinema 4D

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VFX Producer
Louise Hastings

VFX Supervisor
Salvador Zalvidea

2D Supervisor
Pedro Andrade

CG Supervisor
Darren Byford

VFX Co-Ordinator
Sarah Williamson

VFX Editor
Mark Bright

VFX Shoot Supervisor
David Jones

Modelling/ Texture Supervisor
Sam Lucas

Rigging Supervisor
Neil Roche

Matchmove Supervisor
Amy Felce

Animation Lead
Rachel Ward 

FX Supervisor
James Reid 

DMP Supervisor
Simon Wicker 

Toby Winder, Christian Brown 

Dominic Carus, Nick Webber

Lighting TD
Bastien Mortelecque, Adrian Williams, Jamie Stewart

Matte Painter
Doug Winder

Frederic Heymans, John Peck, Jorge Oliva,
Mario Brioschi, 
Myfanwy Harris, Neil Alford,
Rebecca Clay, Tamsie Thomas

Junior Compositors
Alex Balmer, Matteo Inchingolo, Ross Allen,
Sarah Iduwe, Vasco Cerqueira

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