Hybride’s asset build for Ferrix in Andor reached more than 30,000 items

‘Grounded in reality’ is one of the expressions that has been commonly used to describe the Disney+ series, Andor. Partly, that comes from the fact that production filmed in many real locations and built several sets or partial sets for the series.

Ferrix City, for example, was a set built on the backlot at Pinewood Studios, and where a significant amount of scenes were captured. Still, the sprawling road and city areas needed to be extended, and for that task, visual effects studio Hybride took on part of the digital city build and extensions, working hand-in-hand with Industrial Light & Magic.

Hybride environment supervisor David Roberge breaks down for befores & afters what went into the Ferrix City shots, including how the VFX studio utilized Clarisse for the first time to help accomplish the complex build.

b&a: What had production built in terms of sets and locations for Ferrix City?

David Roberge: For Ferrix and Rix Road the production team built a back lot set at Pinewood Studios. In order to take advantage of every available space in the studio, the production team had built the first-floor façades so they could shoot in front of certain main buildings and we did classic set extensions for the second floors.

There was a huge difference between the 3D layouts versus the studio space: they had built these buildings near each other, but in the show, they are much further apart so we produced virtual streets to create invisible transitions between the plates and the 3D, then we “moved” the buildings to their final destination.

b&a: How did you start that process of building out the areas?

David Roberge: The production team sent us concept art and photo references taken from different locations around the world including The Canary Island and Syria. Once we studied the concept art, we knew it would be a big city so while we were establishing our pipelines we thought, ‘Should we build all this in Maya, or do we try something else?’

I recalled a demo that Isotropix had given us about Clarisse. I really liked the software, and since Ferrix was going to be one of the biggest cities we would ever build, we needed to find software that would take all that asset information in, and in my opinion, this was it. We got the job done while learning how to use this new tool at the same time as we were building our pipeline with the TD department.

b&a: What was the next step?

David Roberge: Our modeling department started working on the buildings and once we received the assets, we started placing them so we could start testing our pipeline. But first, we started by placing buildings to get a sense of distances and the overall scale of the city.

For example, they sent us references from Maaloula in Syria, I looked it up on Google Earth so I could get a map on a grid. From there, we started placing buildings and props to create roads and side streets so the production team could tell us if that was the kind of direction they were looking for in terms of distances and street layouts.