Pixomondo has issued a press release describing some of the work they have done on the second season of Game of Thrones. Animation World Network has the full release. Here’s a snippet:
After the filming in Belfast, Croatia and Iceland for about 150 shooting days was complete, plates were turned over to Pixomondo. Though episodes were tackled primarily in order, Pixomondo began prepping the more difficult, VFX-heavy shots long before plates were received. On set, Gombos used storyboards and had an on-site previs team as well as a production designer so the shots were fully visualized before the cameras started rolling. Many of these complicated shots involved dragons, which were first revealed in the season one finale.
“The dragons mature this season so their look is more fierce,” Gombos explained. “In the first season, the dragons are freshly hatched so they are more delicate. We changed the proportions up a bit and made the spikes more prominent so the dragons are much more menacing now.”
Pixomondo’s renowned creature specialist, Dan Katcher, who works out of the company’s Burbank office and designed many of the dinosaurs in “Terra Nova,” helped to model the new dragons. The Pixomondo team in Frankfurt tweaked the designs further and provided the animation to realistically bring the dragons to life.
In addition to creating the dragons, Pixomondo also did a substantial amount of set extensions, battle augmentation and some additional creature work. The on-set production designer helped develop the look of the sweeping shots. Then Pixomondo was tasked with capturing the essence of Westeros, the fictional continent in which the series takes place.
For the first season of “Game of Thrones,” dogs were substituted for the direwolves, an unusually large and intelligent species of wolf in Westeros. In the second season, actual wolves were used. Using a variety of filming tricks and techniques, the shots were augmented to make the wolves appear larger and then composited with the background and actor passes for the final shots.
“The entire process of filming the wolves was quite complicated and required a great amount of precision, but the final shots with the supersized wolves really deliver the right impact,” said Gombos.
Winter Is Coming: Say what you will about how judicious the writers have been with showing the dragons and direwolves; but when they have been on-screen, they have been very impressive. That is thanks to the hard work of Pixomondo.