Case Study
FutureWorks ramps up for Season 4 of HBO’s 'Westworld'


FutureWorks are proud to have been working once more with HBO and long term collaborator Jay Worth on the critically acclaimed Season 4 of Emmy-winning series ‘Westworld’, which premiered on HBO from June until August 2022.


Project: Westoworld
Client: HBO
Service: VFX

FutureWorks' ongoing relationship with Westworld

FutureWorks have previously collaborated with Jay on productions including MacGyver (2016) and Debris (2021) and were involved early on in the production of Westworld, developing concepts and helping to suggest and find solutions for the ever more ambitious storytelling in the series. The team implemented VFX solutions across the full spectrum, from clean up to full CG shots.

Set in a futuristic fantasy park, Westworld tells the story of a group of android ‘hosts' who deviate from their programmers' carefully planned scripts. 8-episode Season 4 picks up seven years after the protracted war, when humanity is finally free. Or so it seems.

Following a successful collaboration on series 3, FutureWorks were awarded 550 shots across series 4 - leading to a doubling of the team on the project to 45 artists, led by VFX Supervisor Gouri Shankar.

Dehumanising the Dronehosts

VFX for Westworld Season 4 - Image courtesy of HBO

Dronehosts are the intimidating enforcers of the AI hosts of Westworld. But in fact, they are actors wearing 4 inch thick skin suits which transform them into the faceless and skinless characters we see on screen. FutureWorks worked on the Dronehost characters across the series to remove any lingering human characteristics post shooting.

Artists ensured that the areas of the skinsuit that were kept open during the shoot (enabling actors to see), were disguised for their on screen appearance, also removing suit wrinkles and general clean up to ensure the suits looked less like a suit, and more like a synthetic skin.

Cryo chamber extension

The huge chamber of cryotubes that we see in the series was also enhanced by the FutureWorks team, who extended the practical set to give the impression of the chamber being infinitely long. In the sequence where lead character William (aka The Man in Black), played by Oscar-nominated Ed Harris, is being kept alive in one of the tubes, we see illuminated fluid pass through his body, all thanks to FutureWorks 2D artists.

Cryochamber in Westworld Season 4
VFX for Westworld Season 4 Image courtesy of HBO
FutureWorks VFX Westworld Set Extension
Image Courtesy of HBO

Creating a ‘Perfect' world

Episode 5 sees Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) and the clone of William (Ed Harris) prepare their 'perfect world'. In a key scene, they flaunt their power in the street as Charlotte controls the crowds. FutureWorks set about creating their own perfect world in line with the filmmakers' aim for this scene, extending the environment and placing elements very specific to the Westworld universe like the white street furniture in the scene.

VFX for Westworld Season 4 - Image courtesy of HBO

Caleb's escape

Episode 4 titled Fidelity sees Caleb Nichols (played by Aaron Paul) attempt to escape from his cell at Delos Headquarters. During the harrowing and nightmarish sequence, Caleb encounters myriad previous prints of himself who have failed in the attempt. In one scene we see Caleb surrounded by multiple copies of himself in glass cells. FutureWorks helped create this effect by compositing multiple plates of a single shot.

FutureWorks' VFX Supervisor Gouri Shankar said of the process:


I always enjoy working with Jay and the collaborative process there, Jay's vision is always incredibly clear. It's been a very satisfying experience to get to the point on Westworld where FutureWorks are deploying a wider skillset across a greater number of shots and developing an ever deeper understanding of the Westworld universe.


Gouri Shankar


I've worked with Gouri and the FutureWorks teams over a number of years and productions now, and this is the second series of Westworld that we've collaborated on. Gouri and the team consistently exceed my expectations in terms of professionalism, quality of work and ease of communication.


Jay Worth, Westworld Supervisor


Westworld just gets better and better and features some of TV's most ambitious VFX. We're hugely excited to be a long term partner on the show and the whole team here are looking forward to what's next.


Gaurav Gupta, CEO, FutureWorks

FWX | Futureworks