Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Can you believe that vicious dragon is merely a tennis ball (so actors have a physical reference) and a green screen? (So the visual effects guys can work their magic?) Wow. Just wow!
You guys, let me preface this by confessing my trials and tribulations vis a vis this blog! Regular updates will keeping down an 8 to 5 are proving harder than I ever imagined! I kid you not, I have folders upon folders upon folders (imagine some inception shit here but in computer form) on my mac of lots of things I want to blog about but do i ever get the time???
I thought getting my new cammy would make this easier but colour me disillusioned! Xuma and Eliza have nothing on me!

Anyway, moving on to Game of Thrones which is my latest great obsession. I haven't felt this fully immersed in a fantasy world since Harry Potter! Eragon came close before the movie killed it for me. But GoT? I devour any and all titbits of Westeros and co. that cross my path!

Dany with her tennis ball and stick (above), Dany with her Dragon(ish) (below). Bare in mind they animators had no actual flying dragons to base their designs on and just studied a couple of pre-existing creatures whose characteristics were combined to give a realistic looking fantastical beast.

After all 3 seasons I figured why wait for the next when there are the books to catch up on? A wiser decision I've never made cuz the books are like 10 times funner that the show! I could go on and on and on but this post is about the great work the show guys are doing with George R.R. Martin's creation.

The biggest influences for the flight of the dragons were eagles and bats. The former for their soaring motions and the latter for the take-off and hovering.

I can't be the only one that thinks actors that work with green screens do way more work than those that do say topical comedy that relies on fat suits and fart jokes *ahem Tyler Perry, ahem*. So Daenearys's dragons are a particular point of interest to me. When I came across these details of how they bring them to life with CGI and tennis balls and green screens I just had to share! No folder for these guys!

Puppeteers are also used for the actors' interactions with non-existent dragons. Pixomondo builds details step by step, early frames featuring the dragons look cartoonish (pic above), the same CGI attention to detail is used in scenes with a massive setting and huge crowds like the wrap up of season 3 when khaleesi was lifted up by the freed slaves.
Water simulations and digital wind tunnels were also taken into account on how they affect the aerodynamics. Nothing was left to chance! If only the Sharknado producers brought in even one of these guys on their team!!!

westeros.org did an interview with the VFX producer Lucy Ainsworth-Taylor which you can read in its entirety here and/or watch wired magazine's behind the scenes video of the wind tunnel simulation and how it all comes together here (I failed to embed it in the post.) If you're anything like me you're obviously going to do both and you'll be all the happier for it!

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