CG supervisor Dan Smiczek discusses the studio’s work creating the iconic ship of ‘assimilation’ for the CBS All Access hit sci-fi series starring Sir Patrick Stewart.
Leading design company Pixomondo has shared with AWN a new VFX breakdown reel showcasing their work on the iconic Borg Cube from the CBS All Access hit sci-fi series, Star Trek: Picard that stars Sir Patrick Stewart reprising his role as the iconic Starfleet legend, Jean-Luc Picard.
The cube debuted in the first episode before being shared among other VFX companies for use throughout the series. Initial focus was on accommodating the cube’s massive size and look established in previous Star Trek series and films. According to Pixomondo Los Angeles CG supervisor, Dan Smiczek, “Early on we received detailed concept art from the production art department. Due to the immense size of the Cube, it was more about general shape and where large trenches and features needed to be placed. From there PXO worked with the production Visual Effects Supervisor to develop a design language for the type of detail to be found on the Cube’s surface as well as analyze previous Borg Cubes established in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, as well as the Star Trek films. Once the design language was established, PXO then detailed out every surface of the Cube including the Romulan added hangar bays and scaffolding.”
From when they first saw concept art to shot finaling in the first episode, the Pixomondo team was on the project for 10 months. “For the Borg Cube asset itself there were at least 15 people involved at various stages of development,” Smiczek recalls. “This particular shot involved well over twice as many people to complete because it included almost every spaceship and vehicle asset that we created for the entire season all in one shot.”
“The sheer size of the asset was a very big challenge,” he continues. “The Borg Cube is 4.7 km on each side. It needed to look very detailed not just from far away but also when you were up close to the surface. We had to strike a delicate balance; we needed large features that gave it detail but didn’t make it seem like the size of a basketball. It was important to give the feeling of enormity and grandeur to the Borg Cube no matter how close you were to the surface.”
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.