Case Study
Delivering a visual effects masterpiece


Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar was released in May 2024 and became the most-viewed Indian series on Netflix in its first week of launch – continuing to be on the Global Top 10 TV (Non-English) list for four consecutive weeks. FutureWorks was responsible for delivering a beautifully depicted 1940s Lahore for the series.


Project: Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar
Client: Netflix
Service: DIT, VFX, Sound, Rental

The FutureWorks team, which consisted of over 300 artists, proudly delivered over 1,200 VFX shots for the series within a tight schedule of less than six months. Alongside VFX, we also provided Rental and Sound services, such as camera rental, on-set data management (DIT), and sound re-recording.

Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali provided clear direction while granting us the freedom to explore our expertise in CGI and digital matte painting (DMP). Creating believable cityscape extensions was both a challenge and a creative opportunity, as we had to ensure we created perfectly detailed skies for the day and night sequences.

Led by on-set VFX Supervisor Kanan T. and Sanket Shirke, the team captured LiDAR scans, as well as essential on-set elements like textures and background plates, and meticulously documented shoot information. This information was catalogued and ingested into the pipeline by the production team, led by Line Producer Vinayak Shigwan and was readily available to artists and supervisors.

The DMP team used Adobe Photoshop for all matte paintings across the eight episodes, with all CG assets created using Autodesk Maya – with the help of Houdini for the fire elements and environments. Foundry Katana was utilised for the development and scene assembly before the composition. Foundry's Nuke and Nuke Studio were also used to help combine CG assets and add visual effects.

Image courtesy of Netflix

During the process, it became apparent that achieving a precise vision for colour and texture would be a challenge. We embarked on comprehensive research, meticulously analysing historical photographs of old Indian cities, capturing their own reference photographs of skies and architectural elements, and sourcing additional reference materials.

While a feast for the eyes, the project was not without its technical challenges.

There were concepts that looked visually stunning in wide angles but required adjustments when translated to closer compositions. Through ongoing communication with the director, we were able to refine the wider-angle concepts to ensure they translated effectively into closer shots. The challenge here was also to match the DMP and set extensions to the frames captured by cinematographer Sudeep Chaterjee.

Image courtesy of Netflix

Using Baselight's BLG in our pipeline, we were able to closely match the director's desired colour palette and textures across all VFX shots. One of the most rewarding aspects of working with the director was his unwavering commitment to achieving a truly immersive visual experience. The final result is nothing short of a visual masterpiece.

FWX | Futureworks