Multi-award-winning Glasgow animation and VFX shop Axis Studios has offered fans and fellow artists insight into how its team broke convention to create the stunning visuals of The Tall Grass, featured in Volume 2 of Netflix’s Emmy-winning adult animation anthology series Love, Death + Robots.
Created by Blur Studio founder Tim Miller and director David Fincher, Love, Death + Robots Vol. 2 is the second series of animated shorts, showcasing the work of multiple animation studios. With each story independent to the next, every episode portrays a unique narrative, differing aesthetic themes, and a broad range of creative styles. Vol. 2 welcomed Oscar-nominated director Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda 2) as supervising director.
Returning for the second series, Axis Studios was presented with the opportunity to create the episodic short The Tall Grass, under the vision of director and VES Award-winning How to Train Your Dragon franchise alum, Simon Otto.
“We had a great collaboration with Blur on the Love, Death + Robots Vol. 1 episode Helping Hand. Blur trusted us to develop a look for The Tall Grass and really early on we were able to prove that visually we had something very interesting that sets it apart from a lot of the things we were doing but tonally in terms of storytelling fit into the vein of the LDR series,” commented Axis Studios Executive Producer Caleb Bouchard.
Adapted from Joe R. Lansdale’s tense, Lovecraftian horror story of the same name, The Tall Grass uses visually stunning CG to create a living, breathing illustration. Axis Studios set out with a mission to make every frame a painting to push the capabilities of their creative team, and create something audiences have never seen before.
“We really wanted our short to feel like a visual development painting and we had to work out how to do that in animation,” noted director Simon Otto. “The proof of concept, the first CG version of a shot blew everyone away. The team raised the bar and it set the tone for the rest of the film.”
The team at Axis relished the opportunity to utilize their skills to push the boundaries of animated storytelling outside its comfort zone. Love, Death + Robots was a chance to show the extraordinary versatility of the medium in horror storytelling. Axis created a unique look that complemented the story and emphasized its themes (and is engaged with many other equally exciting projects in the same space).
Founded in 2000, Axis Studios is the largest animation studio in Scotland and boasts one of the largest CGI teams in the U.K. The studio started as a gaming animation company, producing award-winning trailers such as the spot for Dead Island, which won BAFTAs, Cannes Lions, The International Andy Award and many more. Axis Studios’ portfolio now includes animated features, episodic content and VFX for film and TV. Recent awards include: three Daytime Emmys and an Annie Award for Lost in Oz, a BAFTA Scotland award for Love, Death + Robots, a Cannes Lions nomination for War of the Spark and an RTS craft award for Kiss Me First. axisstudiogroup.com
Love, Death + Robots volumes 1 & 2 are available to stream on Netflix worldwide. Watch a behind-the-scenes video on Vol. 2 here.