News, The Walking Dead, TV Shows

Infamous CGI Deer on The Walking Dead Was Actually Real, VFX Lead Reveals


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Remember when we all made fun of that CGI deer on The Walking Dead that looked so fake? A VFX supervisor for the show revealed in an interview that it was actually real and not CGI. I’m not sure if that makes it better or worse, what do you think? 

Most shocking news of the day. The CGI deer on #TheWalkingDead was REAL. 🤯 Share on X

VFX Supervisor Says the CGI Deer Wasn’t CGI

Aaron McLane, VFX supervisor for The Walking Dead, said in an interview that although the deer scene was “before his time,” he can attest that it wasn’t CGI at all. It was a real deer. 

Ethan Corby on Twitter discovered and shared the reveal, which happened during an interview with McClane. 


In the interview, McLane says: “I will give you some insight on the deer. Before my time, but here’s what happened. The deer’s not CGI. The deer is real.”

McLane goes on to share: “The deer is shot for a different point, 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…”

But that’s not all. McLane had more to share.

He continued, saying: “It’s a real deer shot for a different shot. And then it just never worked, and they didn’t have enough time to fix it… Sometimes when the boat’s going super fast, even though you’re like, ‘Hey guys, iceberg, iceberg,’ they’re like, ‘Eh, make it work,’ and you just have to. … That’s probably the biggest example of why, they made it work and it didn’t.” 

Looking at how the deer appeared in the episode (such as in this screenshot below), it all makes sense now. And it’s still really funny.


McLane has a long list of credits to his name, according to IMDb. In addition to The Walking Dead, he’s worked as a visual effects supervisor on CICADA!, Heathers (the series), The Vampire Diaries, Table 19 (opening sequence), Scream: The TV Series, Black-ish, A Good Man, Ambushed, The Lost Episode, and more. 

Here’s the Video of the ‘Fake’ Deer 

In case you need a refresher, here’s a video of that scene with the “fake” deer and Rick Grimes. (Watching this scene also made me nostalgic for when Rick was on the show. Where are those movies anyway?) 

At the time, the deer went viral as people on social media couldn’t stop making fun of it. 

Some people spliced in their own versions of fake deer just to make the whole thing look even more outlandish. It was a fun time on Twitter that day. 😆

At the time, people wondered why the deer looked so bad when Shiva the tiger looked so amazing. Now we know why. It wasn’t even CGI at all. 

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    Stephanie Dwilson started Post Apocalyptic Media with her husband Derek. She's a licensed attorney and has a master's in science and technology journalism. You can reach her at [email protected].

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