Magical Scientific Realism-How visual effects create a real Fantastic Beasts’ world.

It is no doubt that a film revolving almost entirely around mystical creatures requires a large numbers of visual effects. But a new VFX breakdown of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has shown that the work went way beyond the beasts themselves. In this film,we can see Eddie Redmayne performing a mating ritual in front of a massive computer-generated beast. Using a combination of puppets and CGI, a large numbers of effects houses were able to craft convincing monsters to populate J.K. Rowling’s imaginative world.

“Digital visual effects blend such disparate image sources as live action and animation, still and moving photographic images, paintings in 2D and 3D, and the objects modeled in computer space and textured with photographic or painted details. (Prince, 147)

There are totally 126 visual effects shots delivered by Rodeo FX for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, including many featured creatures and their environments, the magical reconstruction of a destroyed room, and MACUSA – the elaborate headquarters of the wizard world.

Newt, a wizard loses his magical suitcase with full of enchanted creatures during his visiting to New York. So he must chase and try to catch them back. Since the escaping beasts destroy Jacob’s apartment, Newt use magic rebuilds the room. This, let Rodeo FX simulate the reconstruction with more digital wizardry of its own. Starting with an environment full of debris, dust, and flying rubble, the artists had to revert the action by pulling the pieces back together. Rather than simply reversing the simulated destruction, they recreated each broken asset individually, defining its trajectory and velocity as the room is reassembled so that make it looks like a kind of magic.



Digital toolsets conjoin these various image categories, deriving from real locales and synthesizing new ones. So what, then, is real” (Prince, 147)

Brisebois(Rodeo FX’s VFX supervisor) knew that every creature had to be designed within their unique environment with realistic features that audiences would believe to be true. His team was faced with the challenge of mixing diverse anatomical features and traits to invent creature features never before seen on any real animal. Since there is a scene about Newt and his friends entered the magic world of fantastic beasts through his enchanted suitcase. To build such a magical environment, Rodeo FX brought to life a host of beasts, including a Murtlap, a Nundu, Doxies, Butterflies, Gloworms, Grindelows, a family of Diricawls, and adorable Mooncalves.”


In addition, not only the scene of magic world and those fantastic animals should be created very vivid in order to let spectators believe it’s real, the film’s background also needs a lot of hard graft to make it look like the story took place in 1920s New York, and the actual interiors of the buildings were totally invented as well.


Rodeo Visual Effects Company completely fabricated the extravagant and grandiose interior of the Magical Congress of the United States of America – including little details right down to the revolving door. (Harrison,2017)

Here is a video showed what other unbelievable work went into the backdrop for the film

Written by: Yuehan Zhu


  1. Stephen Prince. Digital Visual Effects in Cinema: The Seduction of Reality. New York: Rutgers University Press, 2012.
  2. Harrison,E. (2017). Incredible visual effects round-up proves almost nothing in Fantastic Beasts was real. Radiotimes.Available from: [Accessed 12 March 2017].
  3. Rodeo FX. (2016). Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Radeo FX VFX Breakdown. Rodeo Visual Effect Company. Available from: [Accessed 20 March 2017]



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