Sven Sauer's profile

Game of Thrones - matte paintings
The production of the visual effects for Game of Thrones began in November 2011 and involved nine of the world's twelve Pixomondo studios with a total of 305 digital artists. A separate department with a focus on Matte Painting has been created in Stuttgart, where 10 Matte Painting Artists from around the world who had specialized in castles and medieval scenes have come together.
Senior Matte Painting Artist Sven Sauer shows a look behind the scenes of the Matte Paintings of Game of Thrones.
The backdrop of the castle Harrenhall has been built on a parking lot in the solitude of Ireland. Only a small yard was built as basis. The huge castle has later been expanded digitally.
The Stories in the Stories
The original book gives the reader just enough insight into the past of its world, that the viewer begins to spin it further autonomously. Shadows of a much more tremendous history reveal their existence by small hints and details. For the construction of the world of Game of Thrones, there are always hints of past times, kingdoms and lost homes in the novel.
The Visual Effects Team tried to include all these sub-stories in the paintings. The artists exactly analyzed the descriptions of the castles and landscapes in the books. How did the castle towers of Pyke look like before the weather had stricken them? The walls of the castle of Harrenhall once melted under the fire of dragons. In the book, this was just mentioned in a few lines – but anyway, it had to be considered carefully how a fortress would look like after having been overwhelmed by a huge fireball.
In Search of Shooting Locations and Settings
Hints in the "real world" could help the digital painters to design those fantasy landscapes: even in the past of Europe there had once been some castles which had possibly suffered a similar fate as the castles in Westeros. So those castles have provided inspiration in order to lend credibility to the buildings and environments of Westeros.

The processing of the matte paintings had already started before the beginning of the film shooting. Sven Sauer and Juri Stanossek has been on the road of Ireland in order to take hundreds of photos in the most diverse locations, which later made up the raw material for the design of the Matte Paintings.
Kings landing
There was an impressive resemblance to the city of Valletta in Malta for the descriptions of the town King’s Landing, so it became another shooting location. Other parallels were evident in the steep slopes of Scotland, in the green hills of Ireland and in the castles of Wales.
"Game of Thrones has given us the chance to create a whole world. But the series leads us to places which had to be built arduously. This process took several months to be completed.
Films are always a deal, a kind of agreement between the filmmakers and the audience. Filmmakers create a world, and the audience gets involved in this creation. This pact will only work if it obeys certain laws. Perhaps the most important law is: nothing in our world exists without a past! Our environment is always peppered with details of past events. These details make the world tangible and authentic.
 This is exactly what pertains to our pictures. A good Matte Painting is full of memories, telling stories about the past."

Sven Sauer
The North: There hasn’t been any shooting location for this scene. The view from the Wall northwards shows the last area of the forest before the bleak landscape begins. The complete shot has been created digitally.
Game of Thrones - matte paintings

Game of Thrones - matte paintings

The production of the visual effects for Game of Thrones began in November 2011 and involved nine of the world's twelve Pixomondo studios with a Read More