In true Nat Geo style, One Strange Rock features both live-action photography and visual effects to bring seemingly impossible images to the screen. The series balances micro and macro levels of detail throughout, with VFX working to illustrate scientific phenomena in dazzling style.

Each VFX sequence was visualised by Framestore’s Television creatives in advance of producers putting the complex, cross-studio delivery system in place. The model has been used previously by the Television team - well-versed in managing the creative and production workflow of VFX-heavy shows - to ensure efficient turnaround of stellar visual effects for television schedules.

The core challenge, however, lies in the complexity of the brief: how to visualise what is invisible to the human eye, and give shape to scientific concepts beyond everyday understanding. Framestore worked extensively on concept art, to form a tangible base for the beautiful organic imagery.

The resulting VFX demonstrate the likes of diatoms, which explain how oxygen sustains life in an underwater environment; and a wide-ranging sequence showing the Earth’s magnetosphere, pulling from the liquid core of the planet all the way to outer space. Specialist photography by Chris Parks, Tim Shepherd and many other talents provided a library of organic textures shot at high speed, which were also layered into the CG work to give even greater realism and depth.

Framestore’s Design Studio created the titles for the series; read more about their work here. Framestore also partnered creatively once more with McCann NY to realise an accompanying immersive viewing experience, showcased in NYC in the week prior to One Strange Rock’s release.