Even Lost's animators had no idea what the smoke monster was

Illustration for article titled Even Lost's animators had no idea what the smoke monster was

Did you know that Lost 's smoke monster was voiced by cicadas and the click-clacks of a New York City taxi receipt printer? Also, Smokey's animators had no clue what the foggy beast was when they animated him!


In a recent interview with Popular Mechanics, Smokey's illustrators fessed up that they too were in the dark when designing the Island's cloud monster. John Teska created Smokey during season one for Eden FX and worked on the program until season four. Teska was informed by fan theories when it came to designing the beast's swirling deadliness.

This was something we didn't know about when we started on the show [...] So even when there was something that harassed the castaways, there really hadn't been any talk about what we would be doing until later on that first season. [...] An early theory was that it was an electromagnetic force [..] We know there's magnetism on the island-could this be some iron filing cloud that's being driven by the magnetism? And that was something I could grab onto to kind of help activate it when even the producers were being vague about what that was.

Teska adds that the creature's final identity even took him for surprise.

Now we're getting into the final stretch and finding out that it might even be soul-motivated, which is something I didn't see coming. But it's an interesting touch.

Creating the monster can be an equally perplexing experience. According to special visual supervisor says Mitch Suskin:

It's really a very tediously animated computer effect because it has to be random, like smoke, but we have to control it and animate it to give it personality and to make it do what we want [...] It's actually a lot of trial and error to get Smokey to do what we want him to do and still maintain his smoke-ishness without him becoming just a smoky worm.


Also, the article notes that Smokey's famous click-clacking was "created using the repetitive clicking of a cicada and the noises from a New York City taxi receipt printer." No wonder I can't stand waiting for a receipt.

[via Popular Mechanics]




I felt there was a noticeable drop in the smoke monster's FX quality around season 4.

Did anyone else see that?