The most popular television show in the world has a pretty decent budget, as it turns out, and it shows. One of the biggest chunks of Game of Thrones' production budget is no doubt the CGI implemented in every episode to help make Westeros feel more like a real (yet still fantastical) place. While Daenerys' dragons are the most obvious utilization of these effects, pretty much everything in the show -- from battles to scenery to blood and gore -- has been tweaked by a computer at some point or another. Let's take a look at how Game of Thrones looks before (and after) it's gussied up by digital effects artists.

1. Since dragons are dangerous and also fictional, actors have to share scenes with green balls on sticks that will be filled in later

daenerys

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2. There's a lot of people in costume in this scene, but for larger-than-life scale you need a bit of green screen

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via El Ranchito Imagen Digital



3. Using humble, real-world backdrops up front and dropping in fantastical castles in the background is a common practice

via Mackevision

4. In a way, it's kind of impressive that they built any part of a giant ice wall to begin with

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5. Some scenes are made of so much CGI you could almost call it a cartoon -- not that it's a bad thing

via BlueBolt

6. As the dragons get bigger, so do the green sticks and pillows

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7. You might have taken this background army for granted, but CGI is way more cost-efficient than tons of extras

via Mackevision

 

8. If enough of a scene looks real, your brain sorta lets the rest pass by without too much scrutiny

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9. This is probably a lot easier than finding an actual old castle gate to film

via Mackevision



10. Some of the changes are a bit more subtle, like adding blue eyes and transluscent horns to the Night King's (already awesome) prosthetics

game of thrones

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via Image Engine

11. Sometimes the practical effects team does the heavy lifting, and then digital artists give it one last layer

12. It does make you wonder why bother using a tiny structure if you're just going to fake 90% of a castle anyway

game of thrones



13. CGI has probably saved a lot of stunt horses from injury

via Iloura

14. It's got to be tough looking at a blank canvas and pretending there's a whole big world out there...

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15. ...but this job also seems pretty fun

(okay okay, this is an SNL bit)