How ‘Game of Thrones’ creates its dragons

The Washington Post’s Thomas Johnson wrote a great article on how PIXOMONDO’s work on HBO series Game of Thrones.

He interviewed our VFX Supervisor Sven Martin, who explained how we designed and created the dragons for each season. Read an excerpt below from the original article:


When you hear the words “CGI” or “3-D animation,” complex computer languages probably come to mind.

But when HBO tasked Pixomondo, the visual effects company that it works with on “Game of Thrones,” with designing the show’s dragons, it required something far more accessible and considerably cheaper: a chicken from a nearby grocery store.

“I was looking for an animal so we can really discover how the muscles underneath should work,” said Sven Martin, Pixomondo’s visual effects supervisor. “I called over all the animators and they all had to just play with the chicken … You could feel how the muscles underneath are moving and what are the restrictions, where the bone can’t go. We built our dragon basically the same way.”

[image-comparator title=”Game of Thrones Season 4 Before & After Comparison” left=”” right=”” width=”100%” left_alt=”Before” right_alt=”After” classes=”hover”][/image-comparator]

Of course, creating the visual effects for “Game of Thrones” requires far more than poultry. Martin and his team use a variety of clay modeling software such as ZBrush, to design dragons that align with the show’s broader aesthetic sensibilities.

As you might imagine, the process involves frequent communication between the show runners and Pixomondo. The production team will send over a few concept paintings, and Martin’s team will work off those initial ideas to create 2-D models.


Check out the full article on The Washington Post, which has more image examples and delves more into the physiology of the dragons from season 2 to now.

Read the full article here