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Spin VFX Creates the World of 'The Borgias'

Spin VFX provides over 1,000 visual effects shots across three seasons of Showtime series The Borgias.


Spin VFX announced that it has completed visual effects for three seasons of of the Showtime/Bravo series The Borgias.

“Working with Neil Jordan, Take 5 and the entire production team has been a delight," said Spin President and Visual Effects Executive Producer Neishaw Ali, (Game of Thrones, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn). "Together, we have pushed the boundaries of feature quality period environments on a television schedule. It has been a fruitful collaboration and we look forward to producing future shows together.”

Spin created the Italian Renaissance world for the three seasons of The Borgias. Visual effects widened the visual scope through the creation of geographically accurate landscapes, extension of physical sets, augmenting the size and density of crowds, as well as enhancing action with particle simulations and dynamics to sell the warfare and destruction of the era.

VFX Supervisor Wojciech Zielinski and Producer J.P Giamos led Spin’s team to deliver over 300 shots for the third season, including historically accurate matte paintings and environments of St. Peter’s Square, Interior and Exterior Vatican, Castle St. Angelo, Gates of Naples, Gates of Avignon, Kefalonia Harbour, Milan Square, and Forli Castle, including Cesare’s destructive attack. Additional work was comprised of digital crowd augmentation of peasants, noblemen, and armies, blood augmentation and general clean up.

“Careful planning of assets and locations on the front end, was key to taking the viewer into the period of the time. Our team was meticulous at researching the Italian Renaissance. Developing dynamics and particle simulations for destruction and the battlements was also challenging, but loads of fun,” said Wojciech Zielinski, VFX Supervisor (Fast & Furious, Silent Hill).

Autodesk Maya was used for 3D modelling, The Foundry's Mari for textures, lighting and look development in The Foundry's Katana and rendered in Pixar RenderMan. Massive was used to create the 3D crowd system.

Over 1,000 shots were delivered across all three seasons. Doug Campbell, VFX Supervisor and Luke Groves, VFX Producer led the team in the first and second seasons. Combined, Spin’s VFX team has garnered:

  • 2013 Primetime EmmyNomination, Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role
  • 2013 Canadian ScreenAward Nomination, Best Visual Effects in a Program or Series
  • 2012 Primetime EmmyNomination, Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role
  • 2011 Gemini Nomination,Best Visual Effects
  • 2011 Primetime EmmyNomination, Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series

Conceived and written by Showrunner Neil Jordan, The Borgias is produced by Take 5 Productions, Octagon Films and Mid Atlantic Films.

Source: Spin VFX

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.