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Pixomondo Breathes Life Into the ‘Game of Thrones’ Dragons

As HBO’s “Game of Thrones” rises in popularity, so does the ferocity of its dragons.

Creation of these monsters is overseen by vfx supervisor Sven Martin and vfx producer Viktorija Ogureckaja of global effects powerhouse Pixomondo. For the show’s fifth season, their Germany-based team has taken the creatures to new heights of sophistication.

“They are growing with every season, and the textures are getting 10 times more complex,” Martin says.

In the latest iteration, the skin under their forelimbs and around their wings has more translucencies, giving the dragons more visual interest and apparent flexibility in flight. Individual scales are modeled drier and darker, and they’re more closely attached to the skin — a process that has considerably increased computer-rendering time.

Also, with tighter shots, the artists have added new textures to the creatures’ surfaces: Last season there were 70 textures; in season five there are 740.

Each year the workload expands, but Ogureckaja and Martin say that efficiency has increased, and they now spend less time correcting errors, and are able to maintain their schedule
and budget.

“We’re dealing with our portion of the shots in 22 to 24 weeks,” Ogureckaja says. “We’ve developed a pipeline.”

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