I was on the 3D team for the opening titles map flyover that won an Emmy. It can be seen here. Currently working on season 2...AMA!

Comments: 1490 • Responses: 24  • Date: 

Suspicion746 karma

How does it feel to be awesome? I love that intro.

VanVeenthe1st300 karma

It's fucking gorgeous! Is it all CGI or did you have to make some models to film it?

pie_heaven468 karma

All CGI!

Blankey601 karma

How badass does Harrenhal look in the new season 2 intro?

pie_heaven670 karma

Pretty badass :)

GrumpyHour264 karma

So I take it the opening title sequence for each season is going to pan over the locations that are most commonly featured in that particular season/book?

pie_heaven817 karma

Yep! And if you look closely, you will notice that the flyover changed for certain episodes during the first season based on where it was taking place.

SawRub167 karma

Who is your favorite character in the series?

pie_heaven669 karma

Well I can tell you without a doubt that my most hated character is Joffrey Baratheon. Great actor, but I have never hated a character so much in my life. If I saw him walking down the street I'd be inclined to punch him in the face! My favorite would have to be Tyrion Lannister.

alalune460 karma

There's a town called Joffrey near where I live. I get angry when I drive past the sign.

pie_heaven145 karma

That's hilarious :P

AriwaSC150 karma

I get a really steampunky feel from it and was always curious about that. What was the thought process and decisionmaking behind making the cities 'grow' like that?

pie_heaven123 karma

There is a great interview/making of with the director of the opening here.

SawRub120 karma

Have you read all the books in the series? What do you think of them?

pie_heaven185 karma

I actually haven't ready any of the books but I am in love with the show so I think I should start!

Drgrant67 karma

Hey! Fellow motion designer! I work in packaging for television mostly(CNN, Oxygen, Discovery, TNTLA). How long have you been doing it? Where did you go to school, and did you think it was essential to your ability today?

pie_heaven93 karma

I have been in the industry for about 4 years now. I graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design with a major in Visual Effects and a minor in Technical Direction. I don't think it was essential for me since anybody with a computer can learn 3D with all the tutorials available online (like Digital Tutors and Gnomon). I had been doing 3D as a hobby long before college, so going to school for it was a no-brainer, and it helps to have it on my resume.

aniota23 karma

Did knowing how 3d design worked beforehand give you a noticeable advantage over your classmates? Did you feel like you were wasting your time in some classes if you already knew something?

pie_heaven45 karma

Yes, I'd say I had an advantage. You could instantly tell who actually liked doing it and had a good eye vs. the people who were just there for the hell of it. There were a handful of classes that were pretty much geared towards beginners but that was to be expected. No matter how basic a class is, it is always good to help brush up on your foundation. There was the occasional class that was awesome, but those tended to be in the last year or two. I actually really enjoyed the first year art classes such as figure drawing and color theory.

Thousands_of_Spiders61 karma

What part specifically, are you most responsible for? I knew it was going to be a great show after watching the intro. Nicely done! My girlfriend and I actually looked at each other afterward and agreed it was the best we'd ever seen.

pie_heaven107 karma

I was in charge of the lighting/texturing/shaders.

jeremiahwarren58 karma

Any easter eggs that were hidden in it? Have you been working for the same company since you graduated? What else have you worked on?

pie_heaven154 karma

One funny little thing is that if you look at 1:27 on the left hand side you can see what looks like a bear fucking a pig from behind! They darkened this area down for obvious reasons, haha. I have been at the same company for the past 2 years or so, but before that I jumped around every few months. You can check out my portfolio here.

ajmueller42 karma

Very impressive portfolio! You might want to change the title on your site, though. "Untitled Document" is a bit ambiguous ;-)

pie_heaven31 karma

Oh crap, didn't notice. Will fix tonight. Thanks!

[deleted]55 karma


pie_heaven327 karma

That's what she said.

yourfacegoddamnit46 karma

How long did it take to get the whole opening sequence perfect? Who came up with the idea of doing something like that where the music fit so well with the CGI video?

pie_heaven133 karma

It took a good half-year to make, although it was in planned out over the span of 2 years or so. I believe the music was created afterwards, so that is why it matches so perfectly.

yourfacegoddamnit46 karma

Its absolutely amazing how much work was put in and then how perfectly it all fit.

Mildcorma75 karma

To be honest, not much credit is ever given to the composers for their effort in these cases, but they have such an outstanding contribution to whatever it is they work on.

A good example is John Williams, who wrote the Star Wars theme, the Jaws theme, Indiana Jones theme, Jurassic park theme and the ET theme, to name just a few of his accomplishments.

It takes an inordinate amount of talent to compose a completely unique piece of music that fits every aspect of the show, and I can't voice how much these people do for the programs we watch.

Another example of musical awesomeness is the opening montage in UP. This scene was going to have a script over the top, but when the director watched the scene with the music over the top, he couldn't believe how perfect it was so no script was written. This is also the first scene in any movie to make me cry like a little bitch... the way they turned him from a cranky old man into this guy that had been through... well... everything really, made me change my entire outlook towards old single people in general, and I don't think there was a dry eye in the cinema on the opening night.

pie_heaven83 karma

I completely agree. Ramin Djawadi did an AMAZING job with the opening score, and the title sequence would not be the same without it. Here is a cool metal version of the opening song.

kosherbacon45 karma

What software did you use to build it? And what was the process like for putting it together? (Storyboards -> Animatics -> Animation?)

pie_heaven79 karma

For the 3D side of things, we used Autodesk Maya, and it was rendered in Vray. You can learn about the process here.

ScrubbyBubbles11 karma

We have long been a mental ray studio, but the longer we use it the more we hate it. I've just done my first project using Vray, and so far it seems much nicer. Any particular reason you chose VRay over Renderman/Mentalray/Maxwell/whatever?

I did like the look of the rendering when I watched last year, was wondering what you did it in.

pie_heaven20 karma

We used to use mental ray also, but Vray has a better global illumination solution in my opinion (looks nicer and tighter), and the render elements and MUCH easier to break out for compositors. I would have a tough time going back to mental ray after being in Vray for so long. Many companies are switching over to Vray now, and the support forums at chaosgroup are fantastic, so it is a great time to switch over. The GoT sequence was our first Vray job, so it was quite the learning experience!

steinsekk40 karma

Love the intro and the design! Is the whole map of the world built inside a 'Dyson sphere' as one big detailed model? Or is it broken down into smaller scenes for the closeups etc?

pie_heaven68 karma

We had to cheat it for each shot. So really it is only half of a Dyson sphere so that the light could get in. Wouldn't make sense to keep all that stuff in there that you aren't going to see anyway...takes up a lot of memory.

isopropophlex31 karma

What is wrong with bad CGI? In other words; what are things in CGI that must correct so our minds are and will be playing tricks on us?

pie_heaven50 karma

Great question, but a tough one to answer. One little thing can be off, and we will catch it immediately since we see the world through our eyes every single day. We know how things are supposed to look. It could be the color of the lighting or shadows, the scale of a texture map, the amount of light let through in a subsurface scattering shader...anything. It really all comes down to studying the real world and always having reference for how things are supposed to look and behave. With increased processing power, we are getting closer and closer to real life. Scroll down and check out these renders. Pretty photoreal. That is because the model is a scan of a real human head, and the shader and lighting is fantastic. This is very render intensive though, so don't expect graphics like this in real time (games) for another 8 years or so.

byronimation24 karma

What a cool project! Did the map change each episode, and if so, was your team responsible for making different versions? How will the intro change in season 2?

pie_heaven46 karma

There were about 4 different versions that played for the first season. We had all the locations built, so it was just a matter of changing the camera move and then fine tuning the lighting for that specific shot. Season 2 will feature alot of the same locations, but some new ones as well. Many of the shots from the 1st season will be reused.

kshortes19 karma

I've worked in motion graphics, editing and compositing for 7 years but I cannot seem to get a job outside of my current one to save my ass. Any advice?

pie_heaven30 karma

Hard to say without seeing your work, so feel free to send it to me. I would say try to focus on one thing and make your demo reel 100% geared towards that. Seems like you might be trying to spread yourself too thin. And if it's not working, then make a new demo reel from scratch and try again.

kshortes14 karma

Yeah, you're spot on, I was going with a more generalist approach to my reel, I think I'm going to have to refine it to compositing...the only shitty part is I have only ever messed with Nuke once, which is industry standard in a lot of places so I'm hesitant to send in composites done with AFX.

pie_heaven24 karma

Believe it or not alot of the compositing on the intro was done in AFX. But yes, most places are fully switching over to Nuke. It's not too late to learn!

TheLameCat15 karma

I actually watched the first episode today, loved the show. Is there a program you recomend learning, aftereffects cinema 4d etc.? Thinking about getting in to motion graphics

pie_heaven22 karma

Figure out the kind of stuff you would like to make first. If you like the motion graphics side of things, then I recommend learning photoshop, after effects, and cinema 4D. If you like the visual effects/3D side of things, then you will want to learn Maya and/or 3D Studio Max.

h470n0th1ng8 karma

Are you a fan of the books? If so, did they help you to visualize from an artistic perspective; how the general flow and feeling of the CGI sequences would work out? Thanks! :)

pie_heaven30 karma

I never read the books. When I was working on the intro, I actually was doubting that it would be a good show since I had never heard of it. Now after watching the first season I am kicking myself for not reading the books :)