Stranger Things VFX Supervisor Breaks Down Vecna’s CGI and Practical Effects

We’ve all seen the extremely relevant behind-the-scenes shots of Jamie Campbell Bower sipping iced coffee in her Vecna ​​makeup that Netflix dropped after learning that the stranger things The Season 4 villain was created with an impressive combination of practical and CG effects. The menacing villain and his ever-moving vines caused nightmares in the cursed little town of Hawkins, Indiana, and brought us some incredible caption moments, including [tentacles squelching wetly] and [hand unfurling creakily].

In an interview with Collider’s Samantha Saithevisual effects supervisor Julian Hery broke the collaborative process between his Rodeo FX team and the Netflix makeup artists who created the monster we see on screen. “Vecna ​​is a nice collaboration, I think, between practice and visual effects,” Hery explained. “We started from a concept of the same [concept artist] Michael Mayer. So we had the creature visual of a very thin, very tall, super scary.” Hery went on to explain how his team designed the 3D model for the character from concept art, “We added all the moving vines and everything. And once we were happy with the modeling and its texture, we provided that model to Netflix, and what they did, they 3D printed the costume so the actor was basically wearing the Vecna ​​costume. “


Creating the costume Bower was to wear and then ensuring that all of the visual effects created by Hery and his team perfectly matched the actor’s movements involved a complex back-and-forth process explained by Hery:

“There were several [pieces of the] costume to be able to wear it. Then, the actor was able to put on the costume, with a few hours of makeup. Then they scanned the suit again in 3D. So we could train what we were doing before on the new suit. It was a little the same, but there are still things that have changed, obviously, the morphology of the actor is a little different, a little taller, or there is a difference. So we recalibrated what we had done before on the final scan, and then we added the moving vines and everything that moves, removing the nose, all those sorts of things.”

RELATED: ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4: Jamie Campbell Bower on Being the Big Bad, His Vecna ​​Playlist and What’s Ahead

Once Hery and his team got the new scans of Bower in the suit, they were able to superimpose all sorts of unsettling visuals onto the suit. “We were then able to match the practical performance and improve the combination.” Explaining how they created Vecna, Hery said:

“Any time you see the shoulder, the nose, there are limits to what you can do in practice [effects]. Obviously the fingers are, I don’t know, 10 centimeters long, but Vecna’s are 20 or 30 centimeters, so you don’t have full articulation of the fingers. So what we did was remove the hand and basically replace it with the CG animated hand, so you have full control and all the performance possibilities.”

Hery spoke of the collaboration as “very complex,” explaining how his team was able to take the impressive hands-on work and improve it for the screen. He said:

“Anything that moves on it is VFX because you can’t really do it for real, but that’s where you achieve the most. It’s the same with the environment. When you get a base of reality you can improve it You get a much better result for sure instead of starting with a CG creature you are always wondering about something Whereas when you start with something real you can’t really questioning reality. This is the real thing.

Seasons 1–4 of stranger things are available on Netflix. Be sure to check out our full interview with Hery to learn more about the visual effects behind your favorite Season 4 moments. In the meantime, check out our interview with Jamie Campbell Bower below.

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