There's A Method Behind Doom Patrol's VFX Madness

"Doom Patrol" isn't a conventional superhero show, but that doesn't mean it's without the grandeur and out-of-this-world concepts that most comic book adaptations come with. One could argue that "Doom Patrol" features some of the weirdest creatures and villains out of any recent comic book show in recent memory. From the menacing candlemaker to Mr.Nobody's high concept design, "Doom Patrol" uses its VFX for some genuinely odd characters. That's not even taking into account the other creatures that pop up occasionally in the show, like the were-butts, which obviously are butts with werewolf-like qualities for the uninformed.

The design and nature of the creatures, villains, and other side characters of "Doom Patrol" become integral to matching the show's wacky tone. The team behind "Doom Patrol" took an intricate approach to choose what designs to bring to life with VFX—pulling from the weird and vast history of "Doom Patrol" comics, using each design and character to complement the irreverent nature of the show. As random as some character choices or designs may seem, there is a method to the madness.

A mixture of old and new

Emmy-winning visual effects supervisor Armen V. Kevorkian spoke to DigitalTrends about the design process for "Doom Patrol's" weirder characters, specifically speaking about how collaborative the process was:

"One of my favorite things to do is to go back to the canon of the comic book to see what was done. And as kooky as Doom Patrol is, you still want it to be grounded where it feels like, 'OK, maybe this thing could exist in a weird world.' And what's always fun for me is to say, like, 'This is what they did in the comics. What can we do that stays true to the flavor of what they had, but at the same time, do our own take on it.'"

Kevorkian understands the need to stay true to the comics to a certain extent. Still, like the creatives on the writing side of "Doom Patrol," the VFX supervisor understands that you also need to stay true to the aesthetic of your story. The result is a process that combines the comic design with something more fitting for the show that is adapting it, as Kevorkian describes what happened when designing the main villain of "Doom Patrol" season 2: The candlemaker.

Creating the Candlemaker

The Candlemaker is the perfect example of "Doom Patrol's" combination of the original source with something new, as Kevorkian details:

"So if you look at the comic book version of the Candlemaker and our version, they're a little bit different. [Our version] doesn't have a candelabra stuck on his head. His head is the candelabra. It's things like that I love. I love the collaboration we have with the writers, where I can work with my guys and say, 'Hey, I think this is a cool way to approach it. Let's see if everyone else digs it.' And then we send it over and go back and forth a little bit, if at all, and come up with the final look."

This level of detail and collaboration between the creatives of "Doom Patrol" isn't just for the more prominent antagonists of the show. Meaningful conversations went behind almost every design. For another example, look no further than the Were-butts, whose appearances were few and far between in the show but stand out due to their existence's sheer silliness and oddly terrifying design.

The collaborative process of making Were-Butts

Killer monsters that look like butts are just par for the course of "Doom Patrol." These creatures were no laughing matter to the design team, with Kevorkian detailing his conversations with showrunner Jeremy Carver about changing up the design of the creatures:

"Well, when we first discussed them, I think the conversation I had with Jeremy was like, 'If we really want to see them as butts, they can't just be butts. They need arms.' If they just rolled around like Tribbles, their cracks and their mouths would be lost in the movement, so I said, 'I think they're more of a threat if they have arms because they could do more damage.' And so that's how we designed them: Giving them arms on top of the butt-cheeks."

Butt-cheeks with arms are just one of many crucial design choices when making a show like "Doom Patrol." While a lot of the maddening designs seem to be done without rhyme or reason, there is a careful process that goes into creating the wild and weird world of "Doom Patrol." The VFX of the show helps to elevate an already well-written show that stays loyal to the source material while carving its own path. With the show returning for a fourth season, one can only hope that it will continue to introduce exciting new designs for the VFX team to bring to life.