It's Alive! Heart-Pumping VFX Short Explores a Medical Experiment Gone Wrong

Erik Ferguson's 'VEv' features strange organ-like creatures' life and death in a creepy laboratory.

"I wanted to make a film that challenges the notion that computers are dead and lifeless," says filmmaker Erik Ferguson about his latest short, VEv, a showcase of strange, organ-like creatures rolling and writhing around a laboratory. The mysterious circumstances that produced these purposefully revolting life forms are never revealed, and the film has no dialogue, character development, or story structure, but that doesn't keep Ferguson from building a rich, gritty world for his squishy subject matter. 

"Placing them in a realistic environment  like a lab would automatically 'authenticate' them and plant some thoughts in the viewers head," he tells The Creators Project. He wants viewers to ask questions like, "'Who is the person doing these experiments?' 'Are they legal?' 'Is he hiding his experiments from other people?'" 

To create his hyperrealistic visuals, the director and VFX artist, whose 5-year body of work includes several short films as well as composite work on Guardians of the Galaxy, has triumvirate of tools at his disposal: "I used Side Effects Houdini as my main 3D package, Zbrush for the sculpting and texturing of the creatures and Nuke for compositing. I love the combination of these three pieces of software and the amount of control, flexibility and speed they give me," he explains. 

With that kind of control at his fingertips, he sometimes relates the position of being a VFX animator to that of the mad scientist whose experiments he depicts. "The idea of creating organic life on a rigid, cold and square machine really appeals to me," he explains, "so having the freedom to create any form, shape, surface and material you can imagine, and then running them through a 'correct' physical force system can yield some really interesting results."

Take a look at his process images for creating his mad science experiments in the images below:

Images courtesy the artist

Visit Erik Ferguson's website for more VFX experiments.


Game of Thrones' VFX Breakdown Shows How Dragons Are Born

'Black Mirror' Visual Effects Bring Sci-Fi Anxiety Beyond the Cracked Screens of the Future

Here's Why Star-Lord's Spaceship Looks Like an 80s Sports Car

CGI Test Footage Pits A Tiny Crowd Against A Massive Swinging Arm