Blade Runner 2049 - On Set VFX and GFX lead - part 1: the Morgue

Blade Runner 2049

Concept Design, Screen Design

On Blade Runner 2049 I was responsible for creating the morgue sequence, the DNA database called Denabase, some parts of the baseline test, K’s pilotfish as well as various screens from the Neighbour’s Apartment sequence.

When we received the preliminary brief from Dennis Villeneuve and Paul Inglis, the first idea that occurred to me was this childhood experience at the opticians. The moment when, thanks to the interplay of the lenses my vision suddenly unblurred and that is where the inspiration for the morgue sequence came from. Studying some low light fishtanks with deep sea creatures helped to drive the design further.

As a starting point a crudely modelled thigh bone was created, we used that to establish the idea, play with the shapes and framing and when we got the relevant beats from the art department I finalised the hero female pelvis. I experimented with the optical qualities of the lenses in different ways, making them scratched, changing the index of refraction, the thickness and other parameters. 

After a bit of experimentation I figured the best way to achieve the optical look is to render the bone sequence separately and apply it as a texture to thin layer of glass. This way I could put a light behind it and achieve something even more analogue that way. For the final morgue sequence I created two sets of assets: three main animations and three loops. In the three main animations, what happened on the screen was locked onto the dialogue. The three loops could be played between the locked animations, creating a system that allowed the director and the actors a bit more freedom to deliver their lines.

For the supporting monitor i created some loopable animations showing the same pelvis with a sparse, utilitarian ui. 

Territory Studio - 2017

Project Credits:


Director:                                Denis Villeneuve
Production Designer:           Dennis Gassner
Supervising Art Director:        Paul Inglis
Director of Photography:        Roger Deakins

© 2017 Alcon Entertainment, LLC.