It is not every day that the teams get to work with source material as extensive and fascinating as Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. We knew creativity was key for this show, not only in terms of approaching the scenes, but in transposing this new world onto the screen, while keeping what made the graphic novel a masterpiece.The Sandman’s work spread across all departments at Rodeo, assigning countless artists. As the show explores many magical dimensions, each with its own visual signature, our work started with concept art for “The Dreaming” and “Hell”.
They proved to be tricky endeavors as both share subtle details like giant castles and massive open spaces, yet inspire drastically different emotions.Subtlety was definitely the keyword for the two years of work on the show. It was all about making the magic look flawless, airy, and like a perfect canvas for the intricate storylines that unfold throughout the 10 episodes. This is what brought us to creating “The Throne Room”, Gregory the creature, and Gault, the shape-shifting dream.The Throne Room was a major location for the season as the heart of Dream’s kingdom. Shot in a beautiful church in England, it was made clear from the beginning that we had to preserve the beauty of the edifice by avoiding green screens. This turned out to add an extra layer of difficulty for our artists, as the lighting of the scenes had to be entirely redone to match the ethereal sense of the show and reflect the light coming from other dimensions through the gigantic stained-glass windows.
Another relic of the Dreaming was fan-favourite Gregory. An adorable, playful gargoyle, gifted by Morpheus to Cain and Abel a long time ago. At Rodeo, creatures are something we know pretty well. But this time, the task was not to create a bone-chilling monster, but a lively dragon, who will be carrying one of the most heart-breaking scenes of the show.
The animation team worked tirelessly to convey emotions through the eyes, facial expressions, and even body movements of Gregory. Spoiler alert: this all leads to his final transformation into sand, another creative choice that came directly from our team.It is safe to say that this project was one-of-a-kind, with technical difficulties and requests like we’ve rarely seen. It was an honour to work on this incredible adaptation and to enjoy the positive reactions from fans around the world
Raphael Leterte, Mélanie La Rue, Clément Zveguintzoff, Joelle Zhow, Romain Cote, Dominik Kirouac, Andre Brizard, Francois Dumoulin