8 Visual Effects Tricks On 'Game of Thrones' That Make Dragons Look As Natural As Corrupt Monarchies

While many of the more fantastical elements on Game of Thrones, like the White Walkers, are created using makeup and costumes, computer generated images and the magic of editing help to render the visual effects. How much have you been fooled by the editing and visual effects on Game of ThronesMost CGI, like makeup by some philosophies, looks best when it doesn't look like it's there at all. We may know that dragons, armies of skeletons, and faceless men aren't real — but the team behind Game of Thrones makes sure nothing sticks out. 

The CGI on this show makes the world look seamless and natural, and that's also because they film on location as often as possible. Based on set reports and the behind the scenes material that is made available for fans, it doesn't seem as if the actors often find themselves in a room that's a hundred percent green screen. Real landscapes, along with the props and costumes, are enhanced to create the fictional landscapes Westeros and Essos. Practical effects are used often as well — Jaime Lannister's stub arm was an elaborate (and gross) prosthetic in Season 3. Here are some of the best moments and ways that Game of Thrones has injected a little magic into the realm. 

The Landscape

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This video shows various Game of Thrones scenes that were altered using Mackevision. 

The Ships

Here's the making of the Battle of Blackwater Bay — see how they built green screen walls and filmed outside? Genius. 

Cersei's Walk of Shame

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To film this scene, Lena Headey and actress/body double Rebecca Van Cleave's performances were merged in the editing room so that Cersei appeared fully naked, while Headey herself was clothed in a body suit. 

Bran's Wights

Almost every fantasy universe has some version of the reanimated skeleton. The ancient wights that Bran, Meera, Jojen, and Hodor face North of the Wall are particularly detailed. 

The Faceless Men

I'm pretty sure this is an effect basic enough that your favorite Vine star could pull it off, but it was still a cool moment. 

Dragons, Duh

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You can't talk about CGI and "editing tricks" on this show without talking dragons, am I right? This "Making Of" feature shows the many stages and methods used to create Daenerys' three dragons and film actress Emilia Clarke interacting with them.

Melisandre's "Baby"

In terms of overt CGI, this has to be one of the most memorable examples. 

Crowd Simulation

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Often, especially for stories with epic battle scenes, one of the most common visual effects is making an army of thousands using CGI rather than hiring extra. This was first done using a program called Massive, which was developed by Weta Digital for the Lord of the Rings movies. It creates crowds of little digital "people" who can be programmed to fill a scene and move independently. However, Game of Thrones does not use Massive software, at least not in the first season. 

Images: Courtesy of HBO; ArcadiaLupercalia/Youtube; Giphy (3)

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