THE WITCHER ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

The most horrifying monsters are born within ourselves… With the famous Geralt of Rivia coming to Netflix, the fans of Andrzej Sapkowski’s stories finally get an adaptation they’ve been waiting for.

The eight episode-long The Witcher is the biggest Netflix production to date. One of the people who made a significant impact on the show was Executive Producer Tomek Bagiński, who worked closely with The Witcher’s showrunner Lauren Hissrich and Andrzej Sapkowski himself. The visual effects for this epic fantasy saga have been created by the artists at Platige Image. 150 members of our team were involved in the production, including VFX specialists, animators, modelers, and producers.

THE WITCHER PHENOMENON

The Witcher, with more than 40 million books sold around the world, became a pop-culture icon and one of the most popular fantasy characters in history. It all started back in 1985, with a short story written as an entry to a contest announced by the “Fantastyka” magazine. It was Andrzej Sapkowski’s son who talked the author into joining the competition. The story, titled simply “The Witcher”, took the 3rd place and was published in the magazine in December 1986.

More stories about Geralt of Rivia soon followed, published in the early 90s in two collections: “Sword of Destiny” and “The Last Wish.” The universe created by Sapkowski gathered a large following, which resulted in the author writing “Blood of Elves” in 1994. The novel started the five book-long fantasy saga starring Geralt of Rivia, Yennefer of Vengerberg, and Ciri, their adopted daughter.

Around this time, the world of magic and monsters was expanded and popularized by a series of comic books by Bogusław Polch and Maciej Parowski. Soon, The Witcher went abroad. Sapkowski’s stories and novels were translated to Russian, Lithuanian and Czech, among other languages, and became a success. The Witcher was a hit in the Eastern Europe, which is attributed partly to the series being inspired by the Slavic myths, common to the whole region. However, another decade passed before The Witcher went global. Today, Andrzej Sapkowski’s books are available in 19 language versions.

The first attempt to bring The Witcher to the screen was made in 2001. The movie, directed by Marek Brodzki and starring Michał Żebrowski, was met with negative reception from the fans; however, it is slowly gaining something of a cult following.

The new show by Netflix lets new generations discover the universe created by Andrzej Sapkowski. This long-awaited action-packed series has become so popular even before the premiere, that the second season has already been announced. Henry Cavill, known for his portrayal of Superman, is the titular Witcher. Yennefer is portrayed by Anya Chalotra, and Freya Allana plays Ciri. The show was directed by Alik Sakharov, Charlotte Brändström, Alex Garcia Lopez and Marc Jobst, and executively produced by Tomek Bagiński. Visual effects were created by Platige Image.

THE STORIES BY PLATIGE ARTISTS

Tomek Bagiński (Executive Producer) in Nowa Fantastyka 12/2019

“At first, it was supposed to be a feature film. There were a couple of versions of the screenplay, developed with various writers. With every draft it was getting better and better, and together with Platige Image, which has been long-involved in movie production, we were going to the United States to pitch the scripts to producers. (…) Then Netflix entered the picture. (…) And when Netflix shows up, it’s: “We’re doing it.” (…) So it’s two years later and we have the show.”

Rafał Sadowy (Art Director)

“Visualizing various kinds of magic in a subtle way was one of the most interesting parts for us as creators. It was creative and exciting work with numerous tests and multiple versions in order to make the final shape as precise as possible. All those experiments allowed us to achieve the visual harmony. I can’t wait to see the effects of our work on the screen. To be honest – curiosity is killing me.”

Mateusz Tokarz (VFX Supervisor)

“It’s been a busy period. The pace of work was really fast, but we’ve managed, and we delivered everything on time. Netflix appreciated what we’ve done. I’m glad that the many hours we’ve put into the project resulted in something that was liked by both the client and ourselves. It’s definitely the best thing you’re going to see this year.”

Krzysztof Krok (VFX Producer)

“A ton of work, high intensity, and a large team. It was a bit tense, but everything went smoothly. We had daily meetings at 9 AM to watch together what our artists have done. These were my favourite moments. In the show itself, I like the photography a lot. I can’t wait for the premiere.”

Witold Płużański (Digital Compositor)

“We had tough moments, because that’s just how it is on huge projects. But we’ve made it. Now we’re waiting for something more, something even stronger and bolder. Just like Geralt, we could only count on ourselves, but we can be proud of our VFX magic. My biggest challenge was to meet the expectations of the wranglers and the supervisor, who, knowing the importance of this project, minded even the tiniest detail to satisfy the client.”

Michał Śledź (FX Artist)

“I had the opportunity to create around a dozen of effects for The Witcher, including the magic portals and the Jinn. It’s been a great and unforgettable adventure. The biggest challenge, and at the same time an interesting experience, was creating visual elements that aren’t overwhelming; that are clear, consistent and serve to enrich the story.”

Paweł Gajda (FX Team Producer)

“The opportunity to work on such a show was a lot of fun, and it also was, in a way, personal. My interest with ‘mature’ literature started with The Witcher stories. As a teenager, I couldn’t get enough of the saga. I’d love to see the face I’d have made if I had learned that in the future, I’d be supporting the designers working on The Witcher show for an American streaming platform!”

Michał Własiuk (Data Wrangler)

“I have fond memories of working on The Witcher. Everyone reacted lively to my remarks, like “I don’t like that,” or “Something flickered here.” The revisions were always superb. I hadn’t been a fan of The Witcher up to that point, but after working on the show, I’m sure I’m going to watch it all and then read all the books.”

Michał Magoń (Data Wrangler)

“Never before have I been so deeply involved in the VFX creation. Platige has proved the right place to enter this complex process. The most astonishing thing was the amount of entry and exit data that need to be processed. It was so huge that we had to expand the team. We’ve optimized the workflow and chose the right tools, and this let us survive the struggle.”

Dorota Woropaj (VFX Production Assistant)

“The biggest challenge was organizing the work. We’ve been in constant contact with the show’s producers, we had to make sure dispatches are going out and keep giving our feedback. We had to create a whole communication system to make everything fits together and that there are no hiccups. I’m glad I had a chance to be part of such a cool undertaking. I love the story that the show is telling, and I have to admit that I’m not a big fantasy fan, so that should tell you something.”

Bartosz Krasicki (Data Wrangler)

“I’ve joined the project when it was already in motion, and it was its most intense part. The work felt nearly physical, because you had to be extremely focused all the time to not make any mistakes. VFX projects usually aren’t that different, but in this case, we had to make our workflow fit Netflix’s requirements. It was a challenge.”

Klaudiusz Wesołowski (Modeler)

“The best thing about this project was watching the scenes you worked on before the release. It’s like you’re in on a secret. The entire internet wonders what’s the show like, and you can already see parts of it on your screen.”

Sebastian Lautsch (Lead Modeler)

“My first task was to make sure that a flower touches the table and doesn’t hover above it. It was funny, such a simple thing would get me in the show’s credits. But then more duties came–exploding head, animated logo. A lot of pressure, little time. The exploding head effect had some tough time constraints. We’ve prepared three versions, and mine was selected as the one that would be used, with some matte touches from the client. The final effect is the result of collaboration of a couple of people from various departments. There was euphoria, there were some disappointments, and then there was relief that we’ve all managed to deliver a satisfying effect.”

FIND OUT MORE

COMICBOOK: https://comicbook.com/gaming/2019/06/18/the-witcher-series-sold-40-million-copies/

TECH RADAR: https://www.techradar.com/news/the-witcher-on-netflix-is-amazing-according-to-these-first-reactions

QUARTZ: https://qz.com/1741108/netflix-wants-the-witcher-to-be-its-game-of-thrones/

THE SUN: https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/10468368/henry-cavill-the-witcher-netflix-game-of-thrones/

CHEATSHEET: https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/netflix-the-witcher-fan-reactions-to-the-trailer-and-why.html/

IGN: https://www.ign.com/articles/2019/12/11/the-witcher-henry-cavill-who-is-geralt-of-rivea-what-are-witchers

Credits

VFX Supervisor

  • Mateusz Tokarz

Art Director

  • Rafał Sadowy

Head of CG

  • Bartłomiej Witulski

Head of Production

  • Magdalena Machalica

VFX Producer

  • Krzysztof Krok

VFX Production Assistant

  • Dorota Woropaj

Title Sequence Art. Director

  • Michał Niewiara

Department Manager

  • Tomasz Wróbel

 

VFX Supervisor

  • Mateusz Tokarz

Art Director

  • Rafał Sadowy

Head of CG

  • Bartłomiej Witulski

Head of Production

  • Magdalena Machalica

VFX Producer

  • Krzysztof Krok

VFX Production Assistant

  • Dorota Woropaj

Title Sequence Art. Director

  • Michał Niewiara

Department Manager

  • Tomasz Wróbel

 

Production Coordinator

  • Anna Stańczak

Compositing Team Producer

  • Klaudia Sordyl

Production Coordinator

  • Maja Kuriata

FX Team Producer

  • Paweł Gajda

Animation Team Producer

  • Piotr Gochnio

Asset Team Producer

  • Marcin Kurowski

Production Coordinator

  • Justyna Ołtarzewska

 

Data Wrangler

  • Magoń Michał

Data Wrangler

  • Bartosz Krasicki

Lead Compositor

  • Adam Rosłanowski

Lead Character TD

  • Bartłomiej Przybylski

Lead Match Move Artist

  • Grzegorz Mazur

Lead Animator

  • Krzysztof Faliński

Lighting Artist

  • Krzysztof Olszewski

FX Lead

  • Michał Firek

Lead Set Dress

  • Michał Rudkowski

Lead Roto/Prep

  • Nathalie El Hassanieh

Digital Compositor

  • Adam Janeczek

MattePainting Artist

  • Adam Trędowski

Digital Compositor

  • Adrian Bałtowski

FX Artist

  • Adrian Tarasek

Match Move Artist

  • Aleksander Szymkuć

 

Head of Technology

  • Tomasz Kruszona

 

Systems Lead

  • Piotr Getka

VFX Supervisor

  • Rafał Kidziński

Art. Director Sequences

  • Karol Klonowski

Lead Modeler

  • Sebastian Lautsch

Lead Asset LookDev Artist

  • Piotr Nowacki

Lead Lighting

  • Przemysław Patyk

 

Sequence Supervisor

  • Bartosz Skrzypiec

Art. Director Sequences

  • Agata Wacławiak-Pączkowska

Layout Lead

  • Dominik Wawrzyniak

Lead Render Wrangler

  • Rafał Wójcikowski

Lead Pipeline TD

  • Jarosław Zawiśliński

Additional Set Dress Artist

  • Paweł Adamajtis

Asset Look Dev Artist

  • Filip Adamiak

Roto/Prep Artist

  • Michał Andruch

Animator

  • Błażej Andrzejewski

FX Artist

  • Jarosław Armata

Modeler

  • Amelia Baj

Roto/Prep Artist

  • Aleksandra Bandomir

Roto/Prep Artist

  • Piotr Bandomir

Additional MattePainting

  • Patrycja Bartnik

Digital Compositor

  • Michał Bereś

Character TD

  • Olga Bieńko

MattePainting Artist

  • Maciej Biniek

Match Move Artist

  • Piotr Borowski

Render Wrangler

  • Kamil Boryczko

Department Coordinator

  • Sylwia Bujno

Character TD

  • Robert Chrzanowski

FX Artist

  • Agata Cichosz

FX TD

  • Ryan Coster

Roto/Prep Artist

  • Łukasz Cuprzyński

Systems support

  • Jakub Dąbrowski

Asset Look Dev Artist

  • Sebastian Deredas

Pipeline TD

  • Witold Duraj

DI

  • Piotr Dutkiewicz

Concept Artist

  • Wojciech Fus

Layout Artist

  • Filip Gracki

FX Artist

  • Michał Grądziel

Animator

  • Tomasz Grenda

Modeler

  • Maciej Hrynyszyn

Digital Compositor

  • Maciej Jackiewicz

Match Move Artist

  • Marek Jasiński

Animator

  • Bartosz Jerczyński

Layout Artist

  • Michał Kaleniecki

Digital Compositor/Prep Artist

  • Jarosław Kapuściński

Modeler

  • Szymon Kaszuba

Match Move Artist

  • Adrian Klimczak

Set Dress Artist

  • Daniel Kłos

Match Move Artist

  • Marcin Kłusek

Digital Compositor

  • Dmytro Kolisnyk

Systems support

  • Krzysztof Konig

Set Dress Artist

  • Robert Kudera

Pipeline TD

  • Tomasz Kurgan

Animator

  • Piotr Kurzątkowski

Pipeline TD

  • Maksim Kuzbov

Animator

  • Patryk Latos

Match Move Artist

  • Paweł Lorenc

Production Support

  • Urszula Łuczak

Systems engineer

  • Marcin Maciejewski

Character TD

  • Mateusz Matejczyk

Pipeline coordinator

  • Ewa Mika

Additional Match Move Artist

  • Bartosz Miraś

CG Artist

  • Kamil Murzyn

Set Dress Artist

  • Nauzet Naranjo Martin

Match Move Artist

  • Anastasiia Nekrasova

Pipeline TD

  • Marta Nowak

Concept Artist

  • Łukasz Nowicki

Systems

  • Łukasz Olewniczak

Digital Compositor

  • Jerom Op’t Root

Asset Look Dev Artist

  • Piotr Orliński

Modeler

  • Artur Owśnicki

Groom Artist

  • Mirosław Pączkowski

Lighting Artist

  • Michał Pancerz

Roto/Prep Supervisor

  • Monika Patyra

Digital Compositor

  • Piotr Pawełczyk

Roto/Prep Artist

  • Jakub Petruk

Digital Compositor

  • Witold Płużański

Roto/Prep Artist

  • Justyna Podżorny

Digital Compositor

  • Piotr Popielawski

Modeler

  • Izabela Poznańska

Digital Compositor

  • Łukasz Przybytek

Animator

  • Oleh Ridzel

Render Wrangler

  • Ewelina Romejko

FX Artist

  • Rafał Rumiński

Roto/Prep Artist

  • Jacek Ruszkiewicz

Roto/Prep Artist

  • Gerardo Schiavone

Digital Compositor

  • Mariusz Seliga

Match Move Artist

  • Bartosz Sławiński

FX Artist

  • Michał Śledź

Match Move Artist

  • Szymon Słowikowski

FX Artist

  • Łukasz Sobisz

Layout Artist

  • Jan Sojka

Additional Compositor

  • Mateusz Sroka

Match Move Artist

  • Marcin Starzomski

Modeler

  • Agnieszka Strzęp

Layout Artist

  • Zuzanna Suska

Animator

  • Olga Szablewicz-Pisuk

Render Wrangler

  • Piotr Szczepaniak

Shot LookDev Sequences

  • Paweł Szklarski

Data Wrangler

  • Cezary Szumski

Layout Artist

  • Anna Szustak-Borowska

FX Artist

  • Filip Tarczewski

Additional MattePainting

  • Artur Teodorczyk

Roto/Prep Artist

  • Rafał Tłuchowski

Roto/Prep Artist

  • Pavel Uliashka

Animator

  • Robert Urban

Character TD

  • Rafael Vitoratti Mamede Goncalves

Additional Compositor

  • Mateusz Węglarz

Modeler

  • Klaudiusz Wesołowski

Roto/Prep Artist

  • Mateusz Wiśniewski

Additional Set Dress Artist

  • Michał Witek

Data Wrangler

  • Michał Własiuk

Roto/Prep Artist

  • Michał Wojtasik

Additional Lighting Artist

  • Artur Woźniak

Animator

  • Adam Zienowicz

Character FX Artist

  • Kacper Żuliński
More credits +