The Witcher stepped into the 21st century in 2003 when he appeared in the world of modern pop culture in a production created by Platige Image – the cinematic we made for the first game in the series by CD Projekt RED. Since then, we have made two more game cinematics and also created the special effects for the new Netflix series.
In 2003, CD Projekt RED started to work on the first video game, which achieved worldwide fame with the help of our cinematic. A team of artists from Platige Image, headed by Tomek Bagiński, prepared the intro and outro for the game, receiving a nomination for a prestigious VES Award in the “Outstanding film sequences in a video game” category.
Kamil Pohl (General Artist)
“I was responsible for compositing the scenes, lighting and rendering, and from time to time corrections to the animation. It is important to remember that it was 2006, so it was like the prehistory of animation, and the whole film was about paving the way. Our work helped to build the foundations for the creation of the Platige Animation department. The genuine experts I worked with showed me what can be achieved from graphics, but at the same time they also made me aware of the long way I still needed to go. It was a brilliant experience for me and it shaped my whole life, although I must admit that it didn’t let me fall asleep just after I got home. 🙂
What I remember most is the atmosphere: endlessly breaking down barriers and creating something completely new. I felt then that I was working in the best team in Poland, and with the best, and most demanding, people. It forced me to work even harder, giving me the kick I needed and generally shaping the artist I am today.”
Tomek Bagiński (Director):
“That was the time when Platige was beginning to think seriously about this new world of cinematics. We wanted to do something brand new, something which was not a commercial or a music video. Cinematics had started to develop and expand, and I was dreaming about being able to create this new form of art. The Witcher, and our collaboration with CDP, was the seed from which this new branch of Platige sprouted and that’s the reason why I spent the next 10 years making animations for video games.”
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was released in 2011 and its premiere was accompanied by an electrifying new cinematic created by the Platige team. Again, the animation was not only well-received by the game’s loyal fans, but also by the industry, winning a Golden Trailer Award for best video game trailer, a VIEW Conference award for best VFX and a Golden Statue at the London International Awards in the Production and Post-Production category.
Maciej Jackiewicz (Art Director, CG Supervisor)
“All the characters were created in close cooperation with CD Project RED. Some of them were based on concepts and models from the game, but most of them appeared only in the cinematic. One of the few exceptions was the Assassin. He was a crucial character so he had to act and look exactly like the one from the game. With the other characters, we had much more freedom but we still wanted to give them all a unique personality.
“When it came to the backgrounds, we had to adopt a common-sense attitude – we put in a mix of geometry and shaders and a few elements imitating ice crystals. Although the action takes place on a ship at times, there is no water in our film. We had to cheat somehow in this respect – so we didn’t show the ship sinking or waves demolishing the deck. The only simulation of liquids we used was the magical liquids inside the ice bomb, and also blood.”
Tomek Bagiński (Director)
“The idea for the ice-breaking and the ship collapsing seemed crucial, but there is a difference between something working in theory and it being put into practice. It was a huge amount of technical and artistic work for the whole team and it took months to perfect the dynamics and simulations, all to create an effect which lasted on the screen only for a few minutes. But it was a brilliant project.”
Just after the premiere of Assassins of Kings, CD Projekt Red announced that work on the subsequent part, entitled Wild Hunt, was about to start. And for the third time, the Platige team was invited to collaborate. The huge success of the trailer and the game, as seen by the millions of views online and the millions of copies sold, was an enormous and very pleasant surprise.
Since the official premiere of The Witcher: Wild Hunt, the popularity of Geralt of Rivia hasn’t diminished even for a moment, and his fame has now reached every corner of the globe thanks to the Netflix series. Our 150-strong team of artists contributed to this most eagerly-awaited show of the year by creating the VFX, widely praised within the industry, for this magical, phenomenal production. The series became one of the 10 most-watched shows of the year on Netflix, and within 4 weeks of streaming, The Witcher had been chosen to view by 76 million accounts.
Rafał Sadowy (Art Director)
“One of the most interesting parts of our work on the show was visualising all the different kinds of magic. The key was to create effects which did not overwhelm – so they needed to be subtle. It was very creative and exciting work, and we performed numerous tests and experiments in order to precisely create the final shape and character. These experiments helped us to achieve the visual harmony.”
Mateusz Tokarz (VFX Supervisor)
“It was a pretty hot time. The pace of work was high, but we managed to pull it off and deliver everything on time. Netflix was very appreciative of our work. I’m glad that the many long hours we put into the project ended up creating something that both the client and ourselves were happy with. It is definitely going to be the thing to watch in the coming months.”
Over the last few years, Geralt of Rivia – the man who arrived from the North in the 80s – can be seen almost everywhere. The Witcher’s return to the forefront of modern pop culture and his spreading fame all over the world is due in no small part to both the games developed and produced by CD Project Red and also the Netflix series. We’re extremely proud that the game cinematics promoting all three instalments of Geralt’s adventures which were created by our artists, and also our visual effects for the Netflix show, have helped to contribute to the enormous success of the most famous Pole of all time*.