UK-based animation and visual effects studio Axis Studio has delivered 1,000 shots across ten episodes on the second series of the UCP-produced SYFY and Netflix original show, Happy! which recently premiered in the UK.
Based on Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson’s graphic novel, Happy! follows alcoholic ex-cop turned hitman Nick Sax (portrayed by Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’s Christopher Meloni) who teams up with imaginary unicorn Happy (voiced by stand-up comic & Secret Life of Pets 2’s Patton Oswalt). In the second season, the action moves from Christmas time to the biggest holiday rebranding of all time and a plot to make Easter great again courtesy of last season’s malevolent child-kidnapper Sonny Shine (Christopher Fitzgerald).
axisVFX co-founder and VFX supervisor Grant Hewlett shared, “What a great show to be part of again! Thanks to Grant Morrison & Brian Taylor for trusting us with their creation. We all had a blast working on it. – Catch it on Netflix Wednesday, June 5th, Here comes the fun!”
Axis Studios, working across its three creative sites in Glasgow, Bristol, and London, collaborated with executive producer and director Brian Taylor and showrunner Patrick Macmanus to raise the bar on the animation of the fully CG titular character. The studio also worked on a host of supporting characters, including a ‘chain-smoking man-baby’, a gimp-like Easter Bunny and even a Jeff Goldblum-shaped cloud. Alongside the extensive animation work, the team’s VFX workload greatly increased from the first season – including two additional episodes, creature work, matte painting, cloud simulations, asset building, and extensive FX and clean-up work.
Building on the success of the first season, the 100-strong team of artists, further developed the animation of the lead character, Happy!, improving the rig, giving more nuanced emotions, and continually working to integrate him more in the real-world environments.
axisVFX executive producer Paul Schleicher, comments, “Happy! is a vibrant, gory, hilarious roller coaster of a TV show; it’s been hugely rewarding to be invited back to be a part of the show’s evolution in its second series. The character of Happy has become more nuanced and complex, our team had a lot of fun developing what that meant in animation. We were also proud to increase our VFX and animation workload from the first season, taking our shot count to 1,000!”
Happy! premiered on Netflix UK on Wednesday 5 June 2019.