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Last Updated on June 25, 2024 by Jella Erhard

We’re excited to share our latest chat with the Pixomondo wizards behind your favorite shows like Star Trek: Discovery, The Mandalorian, Doctor Who, and The Orville. They talked about the projects they loved working on, what fires up their creative engines, and the fan moments they hold dear. Whether you’re deep into VFX or just love a good visual feast, this one’s for you. Dive in!

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pixomondo interview

As the rest of the world, we’re massive fans of the incredible worlds that Pixomondo brings to life. No matter if you turn on and watch the epic space battles in Star Trek: Discovery or the mystical creatures in The Mandalorian, Pixomondo’s work is a testament to the boundless possibilities of visual effects.

Their magic doesn’t just make things look cool (though they’re exceptional at that) their work enhances storytelling, adding depth and emotion that resonate deeply with viewers.

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Remember the jaw-dropping battles and stunning spaceships in The Orville? The talented folks at Pixomondo were behind those amazing scenes, especially in Seasons 1 and 2. They took Seth MacFarlane’s quirky and heartfelt vision of space exploration and made it look incredible.

Their epic battle scenes were so detailed and immersive, it felt like we were right there in the middle of the action. Pixomondo didn’t just make it look cool—they made it believable and totally captivating.

Pixomondo’s team, an Oscar, BAFTA, and Emmy-winning creative, innovation, and technology company, has worked their magic on iconic episodes of Doctor Who.

Their virtual production and VFX teams brought some epic scenes to life in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender. And let’s not forget their work on The Boys Season 4, The 3 Body Problem, and John Wick Chapter 4—they really showed off their versatility and talent across different genres.

We had a chance to hear from two of their VFX supervisors who aren’t only amazing artists but fans themselves. They shared their favorite moments, creatures, and battles they created over the years and even talked about what drives their incredible work.

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Interview with Goran Backman & Fausto Tejeda
Pixomondo VFX Supervisors

Q: What are your top picks for the most epic battles you’ve worked on or admired in Pixomondo’s portfolio and why?

Goran Backman: The final episode of Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 must have been one of the largest space battles Pixomondo has ever worked on. The technical and creative challenges tackled and led by VFX Supervisor Fausto Tejeda and his team were large and many. The end product was a well-planned story set inside a mayhem of hundreds of spaceships, explosions, and lasers taking up every inch of the screen.

Fausto Tejeda: We’ve worked on numerous battles over the years, but one that will forever be etched in my memory is the final battle in Star Trek: Discovery Season 2. This episode was a true labor of love, involving the dedication of many talented individuals. From both a creative and technical standpoint, I’m extremely proud of what we accomplished. Our efforts were even recognized with an Emmy nomination, highlighting the exceptional quality of our work.

Q: Which creatures and/or aliens from the projects have captured your imagination the most and why?

Goran Backman: For someone growing up eating, breathing and dreaming all things Star Wars it was a pinch-my-arm moment to be asked to create creatures for Disney’s The Mandalorian. The Blurrg and Dewback stood out among the rest – the Blurrg for the technological challenges involved with merging a live-action rider on top of a digital creature, and the Dewback for being such an iconic piece of Star Wars canon. But quite frankly, any new creature requests that land on my desk is probably the most inspiring. Being in the middle of the process of figuring it all out is the best place to be.

The Blurrg the mandalorian

The Blurrg, The Mandalorian, more

Fausto Tejeda: The Blurrg from The Mandalorian was a remarkable visual achievement, brought to life under the direction of VFX Supervisor Goran Backman. The meticulous work involved showcased the exceptional talents of our animators. Additionally, our team contributed to the creation of several impressive creatures for Star Trek: Discovery. Notably, the Tardigrade, which required complex interactions with both the cast and the environment while conveying specific emotions. We also designed Molly, a large and intricate alien creature, which played a significant role in the story of Season 3. This project, a true labor of love, was a collaborative effort shared with other vendors.

Q: Can you tell us about the most stunning alien planets that have been part of your projects? What makes them special

Goran Backman: This might not be the most visually stunning example of an alien planet and its flora, but it was something appealing with Arvala and Nevarro’s desolate landscapes. Sometimes we were in a warped version of Iceland, and sometimes in a vast muddy landscape. The simplicity of the landscapes made it feel more real in a way, and that was something we kept coming back to – not over-engineering shots to look like the perfectly framed environment all the time. The most important part of filmmaking is portraying a story as believable, and carefully designing environments with that in mind is important.

Nevarro Planet, The Mandalorian

Nevarro, The Mandalorian, more

Fausto Tejeda: This one’s challenging to answer, particularly because Star Trek: Discovery has featured numerous impressive planets over the past 6-7 years. However, one of the most memorable has to be the Hollow Planet, featured at the beginning of Season 3. It was showcased in a sequence where the planet has a rocky exterior and a massive shattered portion, culminating in a thrilling scene where our ship navigates through asteroids to gain entry. Inside the hollow planet, there were giant floating rocks, each teeming with unique animal life and vegetation, and an icy ground where our ship crash-lands. Bringing this environment to life required extensive collaboration across multiple departments and stands out as one of our favorite creations to date.

Q: Which spaceships do you find the most beautiful or special, and what are the stories behind them?

Goran Backman: It’s hard to overstate the complexities involved with creating the Sarcophagus, lovingly called just “the Sarc”. It was a Klingon ship Pixomondo created for Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 with a length over 2 km and an outer hull decorated by coffins of Klingon warriors. It has intricate ornaments all over that made us having to compartmentalize the ship’s different sections to be able to render it efficiently. We not only got to build it but also got to blow it up, which is always fun. I’m pretty sure some of us got into the visual effects industry to do just that – blow things up.

Star Trek Discovery, sarcophagus ship

 

 

The Sarcophagus (Ship of the Dead), more

Fausto Tejeda: The Sarcophagus ship stands as one of our most remarkable accomplishments to date. It represents a seamless blend of beauty, art, and technology, featuring hundreds of sarcophagi embedded within an incredibly ornate hull, covered in stained glass and pattered designs. The ship’s interior was equally detailed, with a practical set that was nothing short of stunning. As a hero ship throughout Season 1, it is one of the largest ships we’ve built for Star Trek. Additionally, the Klingon Cleave ship was another standout spaceship. Its reveal, where it decloaked and sliced a Federation ship in half amidst a flurry of explosions and battle damage, was one of the most breathtaking moments on the show. Bringing these shots to life was immensely rewarding and a highlight of our work.

Q: As fans of the genres you work in, could you share a ‘fan moment’ you had while working on a project? Perhaps a time when you were particularly awestruck or excited by what you were creating?

Goran Backman: One of my most memorable ‘fan moments’ happened while working on the first season of Disney’s The Mandalorian. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by the various creatures in the Star Wars universe, and perhaps strangely enough, in particular the Dewback. It’s a creature that’s not featured often, but I think that’s why I was so intrigued by it growing up. When we at Pixo got asked to create the next iteration of this beast I couldn’t help but thinking “is this really happening?”. It was a surreal experience in the best possible way, and it reminded me of why I fell in love with visual effects in the first place.

Dewback, The Mandalorian

 

Dewback, The Mandalorian, more

Fausto Tejeda: There are countless projects we’ve undertaken over the years, but a few particularly stand out. Growing up as a huge fan of Power Rangers, it was thrilling to watch some of our internal dailies for the 2017 reboot, and seeing how the team brought that new world to life. Similarly, like many in our industry, Star Wars has been a major inspiration, and witnessing our contributions to The Mandalorian was truly inspirational. Additionally, working in Virtual Production has brought many rewarding experiences, including collaborating with talents like actor and director Jonathan Frakes, and revitalizing various worlds of the Star Trek Universe through modern filmmaking techniques.

Q: Can you name a book, movie, or game that inspired you to pursue a career in VFX? How does that inspiration reflect in your work?

Goran Backman: I actually remember the exact moment when I knew what I was wanting to do with my life. Seeing the T-1000 terminator walk through metal bars in Terminator 2: Judgment Day sparked a curiosity and love for Visual Effects that’s still with me today. The seamless integration of CGI and practical effects in T2 was jaw-dropping, and resulted in many sleepless nights learning everything I could about how it was done. Finding what drives you is important, no matter what career you want to pursue. If you’re lucky enough to find it, you won’t have to look far for inspiration to keep pushing yourself. I’m still amazed by work from my peers, and just wish there were more hours in the day to be able to dig into it all.

Fausto Tejeda: We live in an era where anything imaginable can be brought to life, making storytelling and writing the true drivers of visual creativity. For me, it’s original ideas like The Creator and fresh interpretations of classics such as Dune that inspire me to push the boundaries of what we can achieve with traditional and cutting-edge visual effects techniques. Star Trek and Star Wars continue to expand the frontiers of their universes with new stories across various media, making it an exciting time to be a fan. Additionally, with software, hardware, and training now accessible to the masses, anyone with an idea can bring it to life and share it with the world via social media. It truly is an amazing time to be alive and an art enthusiast.

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