If you ever wonder why the budget on Game of Thrones runs about $10 million an episode, it’s because of the meticulous detail behind the show. We have seen the insanely cool FX reels from both seasons two and seasons three of Game of Thrones, but one of the more specific challenges in the visual FX of the show is in creating the dragons. Obviously, there are is no real frame of reference when you’re trying to figure out how to animate their flying. The FX studio in charge of the dragons, Pixomondo, set out to make it look “Not only cool, but physically plausible.” How do you make them fly believably? They’re teenage dragons, so they “shouldn’t look too stable.”
Basically, the dragons are modeled on bats and geese.
“We looked at big goose animals when they are on the ground, how they play with their wings even though they’re not able to fly,” effects supervisor Sven Martin told WIRED. “We had great footage of bats flying very close on top of a surface, so [we could see] what would they do with their wings.”
To help the actors interact with the animated dragons, they also used three stuffies as stand-ins, and a tennis ball for an eyeline, all of which you can see in the bad-ass video below.
Stuff like this never ceases to amaze my small little mind.