Computer Graphics World

Edition 1 2020

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26 cgw e d i t i o n i , 2 0 2 0 S treaming services are making it easy for audiences to obtain their entertainment on-demand. And boy, are they delivering – not just on convenience, but on original program- ming as well. The shows are oen unique, engaging, and full of amazing imagery and feature-film quality visual effects. Here we examine several shows that have upped the ante in terms of their visual content (and story), proving why streaming content has become a favorite option for viewers. THE WITCHER (NETFLIX) When you are delivering a fantasy series, visual effects are a must. But if you are deliv- ering a great fantasy series, the visual effects have to be more than ordinary. They have to be extraordinary. And on this front, Netflix's The Witcher delivers. Based on the book series of the same name by Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witch- er is set in a medieval fictional world on a landmass known as "the Continent," where people oen prove to be more wicked than beasts. The series follows the story of solitary monster hunter Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra), and Cintran princess Ciri (Freya Allan), who find their destinies tied together. Filming for the series ran from October 2018 through May 2019; Season 1 dropped at the end of December. All told, four studios were responsible for the visual effects: Framestore, One of Us, Platige, and Cinesite – the latter handling more than 250 shots across all eight episodes. That work focused mainly on creatures, with some crowds and other VFX that included filling the Continent with dangerous monsters and epic battles, in addition to a fiery climax sequence. The work by Cinesite in London was led by VFX supervisor Aleksandar Pejic, who worked closely with production supervisor Julian Parry. Pejic was on set while Cinesite's shots were filmed. "As well as being able to give input at that crucial stage, it meant we established a working relationship early on, which was very important for when we would be communicating remotely later," he says. "By the time I arrived in Budapest, the sets had been already built and the crew was ready to shoot. We worked closely with [Parry], pro- viding information not available on set that would affect the filming of the visual effects. We created motion tests as well as concept designs in relation to the set pieces, which had been built, and this helped with under- standing the limitations of the sequence itself in relation to the brief, the physical set, and cost." Cinesite craed the opening battle sequence in Episode 1, where Geralt of Rivia fights a massive arachnoid known as the Kikimora in a dark swamp. The Kikimora, a legendary amorphous kind of creature from Eastern European folklore, appears in the se- ries as an enormous spider with a humanoid torso and head. Before building the creature, the artists studied the movement of real-life insects to get a realistic and coordinated sense of movement for the eight-legged creature, which needed to be dangerous but also STREAMING EFFECTS CREATING VFX FOR THE LATEST ONLINE PROGRAMS Cinesite created various creatures, like the Kikimora, for The Witcher.

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