Friday night's Fringe episode entitled "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide" is one of the most unique and compelling productions to air on television. For Zoic Studios it was also one of the most ambitious, involving the creation of 240 heavily stylized animated shots, a blend of hand drawn and 3D techniques, in just under six weeks.
Inspired by graphic novels, Max Fleischer and Hanna-Barbera classics, Zoic began the process with extensive character designs for each of the actors who would appear in the animated dream-state. Storyboards were drawn for every scene in the show and were cut together with footage from stunt coordinator fight scene choreography and live action performances to retain the integrity of the actor performances and ensure that that these unique character personalities translate on screen. Using a unique blend of 3D and hand drawn bush strokes, Zoic created animated characters that strike a balance between stylized and authentic, allowing the subtleties of the actors' emotions and mannerisms to shine through. The materials and footage from various formats were extensively tracked in Zoic's project management pipeline, to effectively organize plates, actor and voice over performances and feed shot and version notes to the artists from the supervisors and client.
In addition to the character animation, the Zoic team recreated some Fringe sets and designed and animated new environments key to the narrative. These environments, often hand painted backgrounds projected onto 3D plates, have incredible depth of field and subtle hand held float, providing an immersive experience for the viewer.
"This project was one of the most intensive and rewarding we have worked on in Zoic's history," said Zoic Studios Creative Director Andrew Orloff. "It was an incredible undertaking, from the amazing writers at Fringe to the animation production that is both steeped in tradition and groundbreaking."