A promotional image of Regina King in Watchmen, in navy light against a bright yellow clock

Watchmen Season 1

Calling on its vast experience with comic book and effects-driven work, Framestore is thrilled to have worked with HBO to deliver VFX for Watchmen, the series created by Damon Lindeloff. 

Concept Design
Effects Simulation
Creature Design/Art Department
Visual Effects Supervisor
watchmen character ascending into the light

Framestore was tasked with the creation of a specific super-power effects for the season finale and a new manifestation of the seminal cobalt creator Dr. Manhattan. The team explored and developed the different component parts of the energy effects to visualise the scene.

Framestore’s internal art department undertook the initial visual development for the sequence, of which Martin Macrae, Head of Art Department at Framestore said: ‘There are visuals of Doctor Manhattan’s powers all the way through the Watchmen novel and it’s a character that’s always associated with a blue glow of nuclear energy. We wanted to keep that canonical underlying motif but design something that feels fresh and engaging in this new embodiment of the character.’ ​

a room build of glass panels lit up as light ascends from the top
a large box room made out of glass panels lit up as light ascends from the top

Once the final look of the component parts were established, the team - led by Ahmed Gharraph, Framestore’s joint head of CG and VFX Supervisor on the project, developed the effects for the scene which is made up of dozens of FX-heavy shots. The team created and animated various multi-layered simulations including an extraction beam, the astral-extraction of the character’s life force, explosive matter and the different forms of slow-motion particulate employed across the sequence.  

Talking about the production of the VFX on the sequence, Gharraph said; ‘It’s incredibly fun to work on a sequence like this, as it is with many projects that include magic or other-worldly abilities because there’s no real-world reference. This means we can be really creative with the ideas that we bring to life on the screen.’

Our brief here was to create something that was made up of varying forms of energy and looked and felt incredibly powerful and the team has delivered something really impressive for the series.
Ahmed Gharraph
Head of CG
character from watchmen transclucent blue holding his arms and knucles up shouting

Our work on Watchmen is part of our latest slate of work helping to set a new benchmark for cinematic television. We’ve loved working on this project and it’s thrilling to see our creative work support stories like Watchmen which are being told at the highest level and reaching more people than ever before
Christopher Gray
Executive Producer at Framestore


VFX Supervisor
Ahmed Gharraph
2D Artists
Stuart Bullen, Arnaud Dumeyn, Pablo Vera, Ewelina Freuer
VFX Producer
Liz Oliver
Comp Supervisor
Suzanne Jandu
VFX Editorial
Gavin Hyde
VFX Line Producer
Hannah Critchley
CG Artists
Zybrand Lourens Jacobs, Thomas Blake, Michael John, Robert Joosten, Ewa Zych, Alicia Saleh, Thanos Topouzis
Executive Visual Effects Producer
Christopher Gray
VFX Coordinator
Viveka Praba, Nora Keszeg