How VFX won the Game of Thrones - AnimationXpress

April 15-2019
How VFX won the Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones has constantly been at the center of all the buzz, anticipation and fan-theory conjectures over the past year. Fans have been waiting with bated breath for season 8 in a bid to discover how things unfold in the final season. 

GOT franchise plays host to a breadth of fantasy elements like massive battles, sea voyages, flying fire-breathing dragons, magical fumes, gritty action, blood splashes, castles and much more. 

The stuff of fantasy constitutes imagery that has to be generated with the VFX techniques and we have been curious since day one as to what sort of visual effects work went on behind the scenes.

Since today marks the first episode of the final and likely the most anticipated season, we wish to delve into the previous ones in recognition of the breathtaking artistry of the VFX studios that breathed life into the scenes.

Season 1

Screen Scene VFX, Blue Bolt




While one can see the background replacement work carried out meticulously to enhance Westeros, the third eye on the raven has been applied with the help of CGI technique as shown in the clip. One can clearly see how blue chroma screens have been used to increase the grandiose of the castle as well as the snow regions by extending the scope of the background. CG dragon freshly hatched and perched on the ash-ridden Dragon Queen is another exquisite piece of work.


Season 2

Pixomondo, Peanuts

Compositing and VFX work characterised by a huge amount of background replacement as well as plates that play extensions brilliantly mesh together into the shots. Geoffrey’s background looks seamlessly extended. Here one can appreciate the efforts of the artists extensively, especially in the attack launched on the ships floundering over the sea. Firebolts in green and orange ricocheting at the ships and the explosions make for a truly magnificent imagery.


Season 3

SpinVFX, Pixomondo, Gradient Effects

Game of Thrones – SpinVFX from John Doe on Vimeo.

More shelled out and VFX-heavy scenes with Lidar footage cleaned out, background extensions and CGI dragons, this time three of them breathing flames are terrific. Here you see a huge amount of crowd simulation.


Season 4

Rodeo FX, Mackevision, ScanlineVFX, Baked FX

Game of Thrones Season 4 | VFX Breakdown by Rodeo FX from Rodeo FX on Vimeo.

Season 4 exhibits world-class imagery created on screen, spanning giant Whitewalkers, CGI creatures and that spectacular flight of the now-fully-grown dragons. Picturesque scenes and fire effects are pretty slick. White Walkers’ intricate appearance along with icy cold effects and more crowd simulations to depict armies and attacks are deservedly noteworthy.

Season 5

Rodeo FX, Image Engine, Mackevision, El Ranchito, Rhythm & Hues

GAME OF THRONES – SEASON 5 from Image Engine on Vimeo.

The season is characterised by smoke effects, compositing work, creatures and fantastic environments that excellently portray the imagination of the author.


Season 6

RodeoFX, Mackevision, Pixomondo, Iloura, Rising Sun Pictures

Game of Thrones Season 6 – Breakdown Reel from Image Engine on Vimeo.

Battle of the Bastards being the highlight that really goes to show the extent to which VFX can help portray dastardly battles with arrow attacks, dirt splashes, blood and gore and standoffs.
Game of Thrones has won the last four Emmys for outstanding visual effects, and The Battle of the Bastards is the most VFX-heavy episode by far.

Season 7

Image Engine, El Ranchito, Rodeo FX, Pixomondo, Iloura, Screen Scene VFX, Weta Digital, Zoic Studios, Mackevision

Game of Thrones – Season 7 | Breakdown Reel | Image Engine VFX from Image Engine on Vimeo.

Concept art, as well as the ‘making-of’ of the sea battle and wall destruction in the finale are some of the highlights of the second-last season. Simulations and CG environments included a CG ocean, CG background ships, extended parts of Yara’s ship, added extensions, as well as extending the Silence set piece to create a whole ship were some of the elements in the portrayal of the story.

Fire augmentation in the plates, the foreground on-set fire with CG or fire elements in the background are interesting learning points for any VFX-oriented observer. Dragon flights are immensely breathtaking. In fact, the team went on earned a VES award earlier this year for their effects simulations on the destruction of the wall at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea on the season finale.

We look forward to the new episode of the final season which has already set the fans abuzz. It might be the summertime but interestingly it’s the Winter that has come to enthrall us at our altar.

(This story has been jointly written by Poonam Mondal and Parth Kaushik )