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The Walking Dead’s Acclaimed CGI Deer Wasn’t Quite What You Think it Was

Published on March 6th, 2023 | Updated on March 6th, 2023 | By FanFest

On March 3, 2017, the much-loved episode “Say Yes” of AMC’s The Walking Dead premiered. Focusing on Rick and Michonne aka Richonne as they frolicked in a scene featuring an overzealously CGI deer, this twelfth season 7 installment was penned by Matt Negrete and directed by Greg Nicotero. Since its debut six years ago, it has been remembered for both its captivating content between our favorite couple and that now iconic computer generated animal!

In this episode, Rick and Michonne are on a mission to find weapons for the deal with Jadis. As they come across an enclosed school area where walkers roam with firearms strapped onto them, it’s like witnessing an intense battlefield. While searching through the roof of the building, these two brave souls fall right into stacks of canned goods and other products! It looks like their quest has already been successful even before they started!

To accomplish their commitments to the Saviors and Jadis, they devise an approach to dispatch of the walkers so they can load up on supplies. The team then separates in order to put this plan into motion. During this period, Rick finds a deer near a Ferris wheel – viewers were astonished! However, the fake deer was not done very well at all; especially for such a series that produces incredible special effects (SFX). See it yourself below:

The Walking Dead CGI deer

In 2022, Katie O’Shaughnessy had a sit down with Walking Dead VFX supervisor Aaron Mclane and picked his mind about the deer scene. Even though it was before he joined the series, Mclane shared valuable knowledge concerning how they created this stunning footage for that particular instance.

I strongly encourage you to listen to the entire interview as it is incredibly informative. To give you a taste, here’s a snippet of what awaits if you do!

 The deer is shot for a different plate, and then they changed it without enough time to go shoot a new deer or make a CGI deer. So basically they went and filmed the deer in the woods, and then from a certain angle, expecting it to fit together nicely. But then editorial changed the angle, and the deer doesn’t fit, so he doesn’t look right. And that’s why it looks fake. That’s why it looks so CG, its a reall deer dot for a different shot.

Although it does not improve the situation, this certainly sheds light on what took place during the production of this scene.

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as seen on promo graphic


as seen on promo graphic