How Game of Thrones Crafted Last Season's Emmy-Winning Visual Effects

Game of Thrones walked away from the Emmys last week with four of the biggest technical awards, including a very well-deserved win for best visual effects. One team responsible has posted some of their process videos from season 4. Let's just say it looks tougher than conquering the walled city of Meereen.


Montreal-based Rodeo FX posted this video as well as a deeper explanation of their work, which is a delicate blend of live-action and CG artistry. In mounting one of the most difficult scenes—the attack of the Wildlings—the artists had to duplicate a human cavalry in an actual forest many times over without disturbing the real-life cinematic details.

The key was creating several types of simulations to teach the computer-generated army how to behave: "CG cavalry was created with cloth sims, hair sims and proprietary crowd simulation tools. Particle and fluid simulations were also created to generate necessary interactivity between the snow and stampeding army." The jaw-dropping results—along with scores of other memorable scenes—are nothing less than filmmaking magic. [Rodeo FX]

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The one thing to keep in mind about Rodeo's VFX breakdown is that this is just the shots they worked on! Many other VFX firms were working on the series and all of their breakdowns are enjoyable to watch. The quality of craft behind everything (especially non cg) in this show is top notch. You can definitely see the money on screen in almost every scene.

Here's one for SPIN VFX:

And here's one for scanline VFX: