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Game of Thrones consolidates its seat on the VFX throne of the TV with its latest battle

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Enlarge / It's not a fight like a Game of Thrones Fight causes a Game of Thrones Fight not … My Word .
Warning : This post contains some lightweight spoilers for Game of Thrones and specific discussions about the attack of S7 on the Loot Train. Although VFX professionals working on the show refuse to discuss the current season, this story is best enjoyed after watching S8E3.

Perhaps this is not said aloud because it feels like an obvious or subconscious viewer. It's about it, but Game of Thrones is the best visual effect work ever shown on television. While Emmys is not a perfect metric, it does indicate what the television industry wants to admire and recognize at a certain time – experts look at other experts and softly nod in respect, that makes recognition. In the previous seven seasons of the show Game of Thrones won Emmy six times for "Outstanding Visual Effects Series" (somehow lost to Boardwalk Empire in S1). Star Trek in all series since the 1960s, has only eight versions of this award. This series brought the idea of ​​radiance to the mainstream and a bit as predicted the iPad.

With the oft-hyped Battle of Winterfell finally coming to fruition, the smart money is now likely to be Game of Thrones. VFX team makes seven out of eight Emmy victories. Dragons flew under white-out conditions, hundreds of Dothraki took off with blazing swords, and characters like Samwell Tarly or Melisandre saw every little undead detail of a White Walker face-to-face. One side of this battle literally built a bridge of flaming bodies.

Like everything else in Game of Thrones' last season the VFX pros who worked on the current action were barred from the discussion – not just by Winterfell, everyone from S8 – until after the last sequences of the series. But with the world impressed by the viewers this week, looking at the show's past may make the effects in the Westeros area so special.

Yes, These are Dragons and White Walkers

Best Technical VFX Models

Review of Past Moments in Game of Thrones gets tough without poking people into Image Engine. Vancouver-based VFX House has quietly accomplished Yeoman's effects work behind some of the most impressive films of the last decade and created everything from the Raptors of Jurassic World to the Graphorns of Fantastic Beasts. to the humans / mutants in Logan . And when Game of Thrones became more technically demanding in the later seasons (as White Walkers and Dragons surfaced more and more often), HBO began its fifth season

] From the construction of the ice walls around Castle Black to the huge libraries of the citadel and the design of iconic figures like The Night King or Drogon. Image Engine also provided iconic death scenes, by Jon Snow, who beheaded a certain person until the end of Ramsay Bolton. The Engine of Image Engine alone had about 100 employees. (And the show itself works with multiple VFX vendors – the Australian film VFX house Illoura, for example, has improved on audiences and individuals in parts of S7.) The Challenges GoT and Related Screen Shots The Results Achieved have definitely left an impression on these VFX professionals.

" Game of Thrones means a tectonic change in our thinking of TV – before Game of Thrones I was a VFX supervisor who works exclusively on feature films and works on television, would have been considered a devaluation, "says VFX supervisor Thomas Schelesny of Image Engine Thrones . "When I was asked to work on Game of Thrones I'm honest – I was somehow unaware I did not have HBO, nobody told me about the show, and I did not do it I have I do not know what I'm getting into, but the high-end TV work has turned from a feature filmmaker into a kind of work we all want It's fast, dynamic 'The turnaround is fast and the quality has to be really high, so it really is a playground for really experienced artists that I can engage in. I think that's the challenge that everybody puts on us. "

Game of Thrones has reached its climax in this light at just the right time; The amount of budget and time available for today's top TV productions is ultimately consistent with a VFX quality previously only available on the big screen. Thrones is not alone in this regard. In December, Vulture delved deeply into the question of how lions for Netflix virtually match a series of unfortunate events with what Disney has shown in live action in teasers Lion King – but HBO gives this show more schedule and financial support than virtually anything currently being shown on television. The show cost $ 15 million per episode in S8 and these episodes come almost two years after the end of S7 . A big movie production may be even longer, but high-end television is approaching. "It's hard to determine how much faster we work in TV shows than in the movie," says Schelesny. "But as a rough guess, I'd say that high-end TV projects turn their work around in 70-80% of the time you spend on a feature film."

In this environment one of the largest tasks facing Schelesny and Image Engines Thrones . Animation Director Jason Snyman in S7 involved these beloved dragons. Schelesny estimates that HBO has increased its VFX partners by 15 to 20 percent for each complexity and volume. HBO's official numbers seem to confirm that. In his behind-the-scenes documentary on S7's "Loot Train" Slayer Game of Thrones VFX supervisor Joe Bauer notes that Daenerys was riding the dragon in 11 shots in 11 shots. In the Loot Train sequences alone, the show had more than 80.

A shop like Image Engine not only has more work, but the shots seem to be infinitely more complex. Compared to their debut as cute baby things, the kites in S7 are now mature and bigger (as big as a Boeing 747 according to the document behind the scenes). This means that there is a greater need for details and more options for action that can take place. Combine this with the amazing amount of visual perspectives in a sequence like the Loot Train, and it will be easy to understand how the 100 beat began – and it's easy to imagine what parts of S8 must have been.

Through In just three episodes, Daenerys Jon Snow has already basically put on a pod-ride tour Phantom Menace with their mythical reptiles, and viewers finally received the Thrones Version of the Light by Darth v. Luke Saber Battle (it's fire and Ice Dragon atmosphere against the moonlight). The Battle of Winterfell alone had several impressive visual sequences: Bran, who initiated the Three-Eye Raven mode to see the Night King; Lyanna Mormont heroically struck an undead giant in the eyes; Arya participates in stealth maneuvers in Thief mode to assassinate some White Wanderers and escape their own close calls. Each of these moments could probably fill his own behind-the-scenes documentary (or a story like this).

Again, the Image Engine team can not comment on S8, but Schelesny and Snyman do not dispute the trend of increased complexity. "I want to say that it's the hardest animation I've ever done in my life," notes Snyman. "I can say that." And these technical challenges stand against the pressure like no other project the team worked on.

Image Engine's VFX repair package for S7 works is intriguing .

"With something like The Avengers They have a fanbase, but with Game of Thrones it's as if everyone is in the fanbase," explains Snyman Ars You know your work is under scrutiny, and your colleagues will comment on it, so if you go in, you just want to do something as great as possible.

"[With the dragons,] We're pushing so much In this character that was not thought of – the entire muscle that bends and breathes was not on previous dragons, "he adds. We always look back to see what we can improve, so now I have this creature. You can have a muscular pull that drives the wings and you can feel the power of flying. You bring the character to life and see how all those little elements get through in the last rendering – you have a kite flying over a meadow in daylight – it looks very impressive. "

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