Nocturnal Animals

We had the pleasure of taking on 200 shots for Universal’s Nocturnal Animals, directed by Academy Award nominee Tom Ford

Project Category



Focus Features


Tom Ford

Outpost VFX Producer

Gez Hixson

Outpost VFX Supervisor

Duncan McWilliam

Project Overview

Premiering at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize, Nocturnal Animals (nominated for eight BAFTAs) is Ford’s second feature, a dark, tense psychological thriller featuring a superb cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor Johnson.

We provided 200 VFX shots for this project, including a number of sequences where the story jumps back in time about 18 years, meaning the lead characters required extensive VFX beauty work to take them back to their early 20s.

Given Ford’s eye for detail and perfection, the challenge was to strike the perfect balance between youthfulness and realism. Although the majority of the shots were full facial close-ups, the performances were in no way limited by VFX requirements during the shoot, so the final shots are completely natural and beautiful. The technique used to create this took our VFX team back to their fine art roots, which is something we really encourage.

Our Founder and CEO, Duncan McWilliam, served as VFX Supervisor on the project and was aware of the challenges faced by the team from the very beginning.

“It was important to ensure perfect facial continuity across each differently lit scene and our talented VFX artists certainly achieved this,” he commented.

“Each shot was an exercise in craftsmanship and subtlety. Tom Ford’s vision was that the beauty work looked absolutely real and in no way airbrushed or plastic.”

Principle photography lasted two months from October 2015 and post-production was just four weeks from turnover, so all 200 shots were delivered in a particularly tight turnaround.

“This time frame is a huge undertaking for any facility, especially for this type of intricate, photorealistic work,” Duncan continued. “I think we can be very proud of what we achieved – we were able to create subtle, realistic facial beauty and de-aging shots that seamlessly blended into Tom Ford’s distinct vision. A testament to the dedication of what is truly an incredible team of artists!”

One of the industry’s most renowned Post-Production Supervisors, Mark Harris, oversaw post, and commented: “The team at Outpost VFX did a superb job on the VFX for Nocturnal Animals. The quality of work submitted was second to none and we look forward to working with the team again.”

The film won The Grand Jury prize at Venice, the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and was nominated for eight Baftas.