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Image Engine Reveals They Killed 72 Characters on This Season’s ‘Game of Thrones’

A new breakdown reel reveals the VFX house's work on the hit, gory HBO show.

Image Engine has released a breakdown reel for their work on season 6 of Game of Thrones, and revealed that they killed 72 people with VFX throughout the season’s 10 episodes (and also brought one person back to life…)

Across the majority of episodes, Image Engine took detailed stunt and practical effects and augmented them, giving each shot that visceral Game of Thrones touch. Most of the work began with weapons, including the extension of sword props used on set or the insertion of elements like digital arrows. “If a weapon prop is half-built for a scene and we needed to extend that, then our matchmove team would typically do the animation of the weapon,” explains VFX supervisor Mat Krentz. “From there we bring it over to our lighting team, who make sure everything is properly integrated and looks as it should.”

Although the Image Engine team had plenty of blood elements provided to them by production, some of these splashes, splats and arcs of crimson weren’t enough to sell the ferocity of a scene. For those moments, Image Engine chose to shoot its own elements.

“Some shots were really specific, like someone getting their head smashed directly against a wall,” says compositing lead Edwin Holdsworth. “To get the look right for that, we filmed real meat being smashed. We used the same technique for shots where one character has their hand pulled apart. The best way to match the level of gore needed was to pull some meat apart, and use that in the comp. It all felt more realistic that way!”

Image Engine’s blood and gore enhancements extended to digital make-up work. Wounds on the resurrected body of Jon Snow, for example, were part of the practical on-set make-up, but were augmented with CG to feel much deeper. Meanwhile, the return of Benjen Stark saw the studio detail frost-bitten and grotesque additions to areas of his face.

In addition, Image enhanced several locations, building on the work they had done previously for The Wall, and creating the enormous library at the heart of new location, the labyrinthine Citadel.

Check out the breakdown reel below.

Game of Thrones Season 6 – Breakdown Reel from Image Engine on Vimeo.