Dragons and wildfire featured in season two visual effects video
By Winter Is Coming on in Production.

We revealed some of the season two VFX details in a recent report from the Dragon Days panel in Stuttgart. Now we have a bit of footage, released by Pixomondo and published by Spiegel Online. Despite this video being narrated in German, it still provides an interesting glimpse into how some of these impressive VFX shots were created.

Winter Is Coming: I marvel at the complexity of that wildfire explosion. The details they incorporated into it, with the splintering ships and flying debris, become even more apparent in this video. Simply amazing.


41 Comments

  1. first
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    first

  2. Lars
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Nice…

    And I guess the video did settle one thing… The wolf threatening Jamie in the cage was not CG, as one specific poster kept claiming many months ago. (He deduced from the crappy youtube footage that it was a poorly rendered CG direwolf without teeth)

    To avoid shaming this poster, I will not name him.

  3. darquemode
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    It’s always amazing that we can see so much detail in these cutaway VFX reels. It
    moves so fast in the series that it is all too easy to miss, but I’m glad that Pixomondo took the time to make it that detailed!

  4. Jen@House Stark
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Loved the Jamie/direwolf scene. Very convincing.

  5. YvyB
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed that cheers ! :o)

  6. Winter Is Coming
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Any of our German-speaking visitors want to take a stab at translating this video? I will add your translation to the post and give you credit, of course. :)

  7. Meera Stark
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    So, that’s what they are saying. You can copy it to google translate, but I’ll try and do an translation, if I can.


    Bilder aus der zweiten Staffel von “Game of Thrones”. Die quotenstarke und von Kritikern hochgelobte US-amerikanische TV-Serie könnte jetzt auch dem deutschen Unternehmen Pixomondo einen weiteren internationalen Erfolg bescheren. In der Kategorie “Visual Effects” ist eine Episode für den Fernsehpreis “Emmi” nimoniert. Weltexklusiv zeigt Spiegel Online das Making Of zur zweiten Staffel.
    Die Überblendungen verdeutlichen, wie die Macher Filmmaterial und Animation aus dem Computer kombiniert haben.
    Das Stuttgarter Studio von Pixomondo hatte die Federführung bei den Computeranimationen. Die Emmys werden am 23. September in Los Angeles vergeben.

  8. Nyo
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I do have to admit that I’m filled with glee at seeing that that wolf wasn’t cgi unlike some people suggested.

  9. G_Lee
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    It´s pretty much a documentary about Pixomondo saying that working on GoT gives them the chance to land an international success, especially since being nominated for the Emmy for one episode. It also shortly describes GoT as being a very successful and highly acknowledged TV show. That´s pretty much all that´s being said in the video.

  10. Meera Stark
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a rough translation of the comment I made earlier. I think there might be some grammar faults (especially in grammar), but I hope you can understand nevertheless.


    Pictures from the second Season of “Game of Thrones”. The american TV-series, which is generating high ratings and is praised by critics, could now bestow another international success on the german enterprise Pixomondo, too. One of the episodes is nominated for the Emmy award in the category “Visual Effects”. (World) Exclusivly, Spiegel Online is showing the Making Of of the second season.
    The cross-fadings show, how the makers combined filming material and animation from the computer.
    The Pixomondo Studio in Stuttgart had control of the computer animations. The Emmys will be given away on September 23rd in Los Angeles.

    Well, they didn’t really say something important or anything :-D

  11. Tyndargh
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    The narrator simply mentions the positive reviews and good viewer numbers Game of Thrones has gotten, highlights that one episode is nominated for a VFX Emmy and goes on to say how this could be another big international success for Pixomondo. He states that Spiegel Online gets to show the making of exclusively. Then he says how the overlays let us see how the vfx are integrated into the shots. The Stuttgart office of Pixomondo had the lead in creating the CGI. And finally he says the Emmys will be presented on Sept 23rd in LA.

  12. Mrs. H'ghar
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Even without English translation, a woman was pleased to see some of the processes used to create the world in GoT. Thanks for posting, and Bravo Pixomondo!

  13. Aegon the Conqueror
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I must say when you compare the CGI and special effects of GOT against other shows like say Terra Nova you realise how bloody impressive it is! Cannot wait to see what the full grown dragons will look like!

  14. Shinyteapot
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Very impressive work. The way the dragons move is particularly great (and I’m glad we got scaled up real wolves instead of CGI).

    Looking at the twitter sidebar, I guess the three deaths are two Lannister prisoners and Rickard Karstark, largely on the basis that it can’t be any big battle with lots of deaths, and these should occur at Riverrun which we know is being filmed around now.

  15. Tyndargh
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Interestingly enough the description to this video on YouTube says Spiegel Online has the world-exclusive making of and presents this as the trailer.
    There is no mention of an air date however.

  16. Claudiu Gherganu
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    If they don’t win best visual effects at the Emmys i will be pissed !

  17. Abyss
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming,

    Unfortunately the voice-over tells nothing new. Maybe most interesting (but no news to us) is that Pixomondos nomination for an visual effects-Emmy.

  18. sjwenings
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I remember many here – myself included – being worried about Pixomondo being chosen for s2, seing as they hadn’t done anything both impressive and realistic-looking.

    Just goes to show that one can trust HBO to deliver quality. Especially the dragons impressed me – even more than the last scene of s1.

  19. dizzy_34
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Those castle digital mat paintings are my favorite shots. Very impressive.

  20. Carne
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    We got two season 1 VFX breakdown videos last year, but none for season 2 so far :/

  21. darquemode
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    sjwenings,

    I think it was more fear of the unknown that real worry about Pixomondo, at least on my part. BlueBolt did so well I thought “why change?”… I guess maybe now I won;t worry as much if they change over to a new company again.

    Pixomondo did some awesome work.

    dizzy_34,

    Those are my favorites too!
    So many series use VFX backgrounds now since it saves on travel and location shooting etc, but none do it on the scale of Game of Thrones. Well Boardwalk Empire does it very well too, but they don’t need to be as epic in scale as Thrones does so it seems easier on some level I guess.

    I love watching these VFX reels and then going back to watch the series being in awe at how indistinguishable they are from reality in most cases. Truly impressive work!!

  22. darquemode
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Tyndargh,

    I wonder if it is a translation error or case of English or German semantics mix up?

    Maybe they mean that this video IS the world premiere making of trailer, and not that there will be a separate making of video later and this is the trailer for it.

  23. WildSeed
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Meera Stark:
    Here’s a rough translation of the comment I made earlier. I think there might be some grammar faults (especially in grammar), but I hope you can understand nevertheless.


    Pictures from the second Season of“Game of Thrones”. The american TV-series, which is generating high ratings and is praised by critics, could now bestow another international success on the german enterprise Pixomondo, too. One of the episodes is nominated for the Emmy award in the category “Visual Effects”. (World) Exclusivly, Spiegel Online is showing the Making Of of the second season.
    The cross-fadings show, how the makers combined filming material and animation from the computer.
    The Pixomondo Studio in Stuttgart had control of the computer animations. The Emmys will be given away on September 23rd in Los Angeles.

    Well, they didn’t really say something important or anything :-D

    Thanks Meera and Tyndargh !

  24. WildSeed
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Mrs. H’ghar:
    Even without English translation, a woman was pleased to see some of the processes used to create the world in GoT. Thanks for posting, and Bravo Pixomondo!

    Is Pixomondo the same as Pixel Studios in California?

  25. WildSeed
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    WildSeed,

    To add: PIXAR Studios is not in the least related to PIXOMONDO ( a German based
    special effects comp). Just thought I’d correct myself here , sorry for the brain freeze.

    The work done from the episodes profiled here are Amazeballs !! Especially the
    ” Blackwater” explosion.

  26. Tyndargh
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    darquemode,

    I don’t believe it’s a translation issue as it’s their own channel that uploaded that video to YouTube. And while “trailer” is not a german word it’s been used in Germany for quite some time. Also Spiegel does have several making of videos (for other recent or upcoming films) that are quite a bit more extensive than what we’ve seen here for Game of Thrones.

    With regards to Pixomondo. They are indeed a german company but they have offices in several other countries including the US and China. If I remember correctly there are offices in well over 10 cities around the world.

  27. Ed
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Lars:
    Nice…

    And I guess the video did settle one thing… The wolf threatening Jamie in the cage was not CG, as one specific poster kept claiming many months ago. (He deduced from the crappy youtube footage that it was a poorly rendered CG direwolf without teeth)

    To avoid shaming this poster, I will not name him.

    Aw come on!! If they want to be Mr. Know it All, they gotta take the heat when they’re wrong.

    Who was it?

    LoL

  28. Claudiu Gherganu
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Ed: Aw come on!!If they want to be Mr. Know it All, they gotta take the heat when they’re wrong.

    Who was it?

    LoL

    That Arthur guy who was obsessed with the Reeds and for some reason since they were casted hasn’t posted in a long time on here i think .

  29. David
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Awwww, the direwolf snapping at the piece of meat was adorable. I reckon the wolf was imagining the chunk was a little chunk of Jaime.

  30. WildSeed
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    David,

    Really effective when the scene shows how unnerved Jaime was and closing his eyes.

  31. sunspear
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    So I’m minding my own business, went to check out the news online, and I see THIS as the top story.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/13/game-of-thrones-author-republicans_n_1773283.html

    This is how you know that your series is popular.

  32. WildSeed
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    sunspear:
    So I’m minding my own business, went to check out the news online, and I see THIS as the top story.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/13/game-of-thrones-author-republicans_n_1773283.html

    This is how you know that your series is popular.

    LOL, true. I would not quote the Huff News much for their postings but they got the
    right of it . Mr GRR Martin personal views on politics and the environment have
    shown up in his blog and interviews. He appears well read and offer a few personal
    experiences to add to his credit. I think he’s an informed cool dude. No doubt the
    Targaryeons would have beheaded him straightaway.

    I wonder that when the ” Hobbitt” appears at the theaters, if the Huff Post will get
    Peter Jackson’s political views as well . Oh to be a celebrity :D

  33. Tír Airgid
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    darquemode:

    I love watching these VFX reels and then going back to watch the series being in awe at how indistinguishable they are from reality in most cases. Truly impressive work!!

    My thoughts exactly. Does anyone know if they’ve mentioned whether they”ll keep Pixomondo for Season 3?

  34. Andrew
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    I love watching VFX breakdowns. In this line of work, one of the most satisfying things is showing someone a breakdown and letting them glimpse just how many tiny details you included in the shot. It’s easy to pass off something like the Wildfire explosion as some stock footage of a fire with a green glow added, but all the physics and fluid simulations, the particles, the debris, the simulated lighting and reflections, all the tiny details are what make the shot work. It’s really great to see it all come together.

  35. Igor Veloso
    Posted August 14, 2012 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    The fact that it was a real wolf, (or some cousin?the way he looked at that piece of meat I think was really a wolf), it’s such a big win! It’s funny that what most people thought it was CGI (including myself) were fooled kind of backwards, (the wolf is real and the background is on greescreen) because I wouldn’t know they used both different sets and different scenes and merge together. Tricks and the smallest detail bring so much realism!

    These are always fun!

  36. Stefan Sasse
    Posted August 14, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Being a German, let me give the translation another shot:
    “Pictures from the second season of Game of Thrones. The US American series is widely viewed and highly praised by critiques and could now also provide the German company Pixomondo with another international success. One episode is nominated for the TV award “Emmy” in the category “visual effects”. Spiegel Online is showing the Making Of for the second season world exclusively. Cross-fades show how the creators combined filming material and CGI effects. The Stuttgart studio of Pixomondo was leading in the animations. The Emmys are awarded in LA on 9/23.”

    I did not try to really emulate phrasing patterns. Since German has another sentence structure than English does, the translation feels a bit rough. But you should get what is meant.

  37. Vince
    Posted August 14, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Noo they spoilt the magic. It’s all real..! :(

  38. Seriano
    Posted August 16, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Here’s the complete VFX reel from Pixomondo:

    http://www.wired.com/underwire/2012/08/game-of-thrones-vfx/

  39. WildSeed
    Posted August 17, 2012 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    Seriano,

    Amazeballs ! Thank you for posting this here for all to see. The music score made it
    perfect.

  40. christmas vacation
    Posted March 22, 2013 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    This blog was… how do you say it? Relevant!

    ! Finally I’ve found something that helped me. Thank you!

  1. [...] reported on an earlier, edited-down version of this visual effects breakdown, but now the full version has found its way online, courtesy of [...]

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