Bike helmets & CG drool: bringing the “Goosebumps” werewolf to life

The big-screen adaptation of the Goosebumps book series is crammed with as many of R.L. Stine’s monsters as will fit. Via SOLIDASP comes a link to a Cinefex Q&A / interview with MPC production VFX supervisor Erik Nordby and VFX producer Greg Baxter, the two guys in charge of bringing these creatures to life.

In a somewhat dry but interesting discussion, Nordby and Baxter discuss the challenges of creating the Ginormous Blob, the Abominable Snowman, and of course the beloved (by me) Werewolf of Fever Swamp.

Let’s look at one of the creatures in more detail – the Werewolf, for instance?

GREG BAXTER: The initial 2D concept design for the Werewolf was provided by Carlos Huantes. Carlos then built a miniature maquette which we cyberscanned via 3DS in Burbank. This was our initial starting point for MPC to model and augment from.

VFX people, help me out – is “cyberscanned” a term of art, or is Baxter from a CSI Miami episode?

Who performed the Werewolf on set?

GREG BAXTER: John Bernecker was our stunt proxy for the Werewolf. He performed on-camera for just about every Werewolf shot, including running on all-fours atop a grocery store freezer. Erik and MPC Supervisor Pete Dionne built a custom facial capture rig with Go-Pros and a bicycle helmet, capturing John’s snarling for additional animation reference.

Interesting to hear that despite the heavy use of CG, on-set proxies and performers were essential in creating the film’s monsters.

For more on the process, including a wonderful dig at my favourite thing to complain about regarding werewolf morphology, check out the post on Cinefex.

Goosebumps Werewolf - WIP Goosebumps Werewolf - Final