For a recent episode of the hit NBC comedy Scrubs, 3dBob Prods. was called in to do a grotesque face melting effect a la Raiders of the Lost Ark. While it may seem a bit shocking for primetime TV, the sequence is well in keeping with the show’s humorous daydream/fantasy element.
The 3dBob animation team blended practical effects and digital technology to pull off the shot. The practical VFX team molded two wax heads of Scrubs doctor John “JD” Dorian, complete with realistic flesh tones and meltable eyes. Industrial-size propane heat-blowers were then used to melt the head while the action was captured using time-lapse digital photography.
After filming the melting of both heads, animators digitally blended the images into the live-action sequence, shot on-set with actor Zach Braff. The finishing touch involved digitally removing and carefully animating Braff’s hair so it could slide down his melted head.
According to Nielson ratings, 17.75 million viewers tuned in to the episode, titled “My Big Mouth”.