Series design and visual effects

In this landmark BBC series, Professor Iain Stewart tells a stunning story about our planet. He reveals how the greatest changes to the earth have been driven, above all, by plants; and how they have turned the Earth from a barren, hostile, purple rock surrounded by toxic gases, into a planet we could call home.

Shadow created some 50+ shots for the three part series. Almost half of the shots needed to show the incredible beauty that derives from electron microscope images, and therefore it was extremely important to the production that any CGI produced captured the intricacies of the natural forms that exist at tiny scale in structures like seapods, diatoms, and pollen.

Although visually stunning these images are flat. Therefore to allow us to move around the specimens in 3D space, highly detailed Zbrush sculpts were created based on the microscope photo reference. In doing so it allowed the flexibility to work at massive resolutions, sculpting very organic detail by hand.

Shadow won a RTS 2013 award for 'Special Effects and Graphics', whilst the series also won two prestigious 'Wildscreen Film Festival, 2012 Panda' awards.