Berk's Grapevine

Race to the Edge: Visual Development and Design



This is the second part of the Berk’s Grapevine coverage of Race to the Edge! Keep checking back this week for more information about the show and School of Dragons! The previous part was about Story, Characters, and Dragons.

Dragon’s Edge Huts

Houses on Berk were designed to be destroyed every few weeks. True to real Viking design, Berk houses are shaped a bit like boats. However, now that dragons are no longer a threat, house design on Berk and on the Dragon’s Edge is more varied because the Vikings can build whatever they want.

Each of the riders’ houses on the Dragon’s Edge is somehow related to their personality the dragon they ride. Hiccup’s hut has a Toothless-inspired design with a built in forge and plenty of crazy contraptions and a windmill. Astrid, as you might expect, builds more of a fortress than a hut. Fishlegs, interested in learning and the history of dragons, builds a tranquil meditation house and a garden that, unsurprisingly given that the island is full of dragons, burns down before the end of the season.

The twins have very different personalities: Ruffnut is more orderly, while Tuffnut enjoys the crazy and impractical. Together, they build something so convoluted that it requires giant balloons to keep it standing upright. Snotlout is now the shortest of the dragon riders, but is never one to be bested. So, he installs a crank to raise and lower his hut so that his is always the tallest hut on the island. He also keeps a water tank next to his hut, just in case his flammable dragon sets the entire thing on fire.


Building the Dragon’s Edge

In the first two seasons, there is a lot of talking done in the Great Hall. The Dragon’s Edge clubhouse was designed to be a kind of Great Hall for the Dragon’s Edge. One of the problems David Jones, visual effects supervisor for the show, realized was the lack of variety in Great Hall shots. The clubhouse was designed to prevent this. It is infinitely configurable, with different doors and windows to open that show a view of the islands around the Dragon’s Edge.


Unlike Berk, the Dragon’s Edge is designed vertically. Because everyone has dragons, there’s no need to construct buildings on the same height or to build bridges or paths. However, this does mean that they need to build huge stables for their dragons. Like the clubhouse, these stables also offer a spectacular view of the island, making them ideal places to set conversation scenes.

Every single Dragon’s Edge building was designed with an amazing level of detail and attention to lighting. There is a beautiful three-story stable with holes to let light through, creating a unique atmosphere unlike any other building on Berk. There is also a giant dragon training arena with a closing dome to contain wild dragons. Trying to fly into the arena before the dome closes becomes a favorite game for the riders.

Dragons, Dragons, Dragons!


Death Song

We first meet the Death Song in the third episode, where it uses its amber-like goo to trap and eat other dragons. The Death Song is one of the prettiest dragons in the series, and a lot of fun for the designers to work with. It will likely be making appearances in the future.


Night Terrors

Alone, these dragons are not very threatening. But together, they form a flock in the shape of another dragon in order to protect themselves. Night Terror posed a technical challenge because DreamWorks’ software crashed for scenes with more than 11 rigged characters. A flock of dragons, however, would require several thousand.

In order to create a flock of Night Terrors, the individual dragons were pre-animated and rendered. Then, these pre-animated dragon spites were used in a particle system consisting of over 7,000 dragons.

Razorwhip

The Razorwhip has reflective scales that look unlike any dragon ever seen before. However, this requires special care for each scene to make sure that the world around the dragon looks good from all angles, and not just from the perspective of the camera.


Catastrophic Quaken

The Catastrophic Quacken is a small dragon that is a member of the Gronckle family. It looks quite a lot like a boulder, and indeed can curl up into a boulder and roll around.


Snow Wraith

The Snow Wraith is a distance relative to the Night Fury (it was originally called the Snow Fury). Because of this, it shares many of its design elements with the Night Furies and uses its ability to sense heat to stalk its prey.

Easter Eggs

Every TV show seems to have its Easter eggs. Race to the Edge has the humble potato. Race to the Edge director Elaine Bogan became obsessed with the potato asset and began sticking potatoes wherever possible. Some of these potatoes will be nearly impossible to find. But whenever you see a small, spherical object, you can be pretty sure that it’s another potato.

Help us find all the potatoes at potatoesofberk.tumblr.com!

46 comments:

  1. PotatOS anyone? Because I'm a potato.

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  2. Will GLaDOS get her own dragon too?

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  3. hiccupandtoothlesshybridJune 23, 2015 at 4:47 PM

    i'm really exsited for the series XP i'm not really going to be into the whole potato thing

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  4. :D This looks awesome. Makes me wish more and more of this world being real. :(

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  5. Cool! I can't wait! So that's what the weird group of dragons are. "Night Terrors?" I was watching Looney Tunes Show. Yosemite Sam? Fish and Visitors? Anyone?

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  6. Astrid, Snotlout and Ruff/Tuff's huts sound very unoriginal and something the designers have not put too much effort into creating. It is suppose to reflect their personality? Okay but I thought they were more layered than that. Obviously the creators disagree there. For them Astrid is just a warrior, nothing else. Snotlout is just a short dude always trying to be the best, the twins are just a mess.


    They created something amazing for Hiccup (and supposedly Fishlegs) so why not the rest of the riders? I was expecting something new and exciting for everyone.


    So unfair.

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  7. I didn't see anything about the Cavern Crasher. It it still going to be in the series? I also tried looking for a picture of it but was unsuccessful.

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  8. *wonders if it would be possible*
    *puts it on the back burner as a potential idea - a dragonOS*

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  9. Ahh, reflective scales. That explains why we thought it was armor.

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  10. I don't remember Astrid's very well, but Snotlout's looks super funny and the twins have an awesome hut. Unfortunately, I wasn't given those images, so I have nothing to post. But trust me, they're all really well designed and pretty cool.

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  11. Wow! Very interesting! Thank you for posting! I can't wait till the show comes out!! *Squeals*

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  12. very interesting but i don't understand the potato thing

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  13. For those who did not see this on the last post.

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  14. In the book series, potatoes play a large roll as being an antidote to a dragon poison and are a recurring in-joke of nobody knowing what a potato is because it was originally from North America and the Vikings don't believe the world is round and there is a land at the 'edge of the world.'

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  15. This all looks so awesome!! And 1 day left?!! I'm going crazy!!!!

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  16. I'm getting so excited!! I can't wait to see these houses and all the new dragons and we get to play hide and seek with the potato!!!!! YAY!!!:D

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  17. The Whisperer of DeathJune 24, 2015 at 2:43 AM

    It kind of looks like a Skylanders figurine to me.

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  18. I genuinely hope you are right cause honestly it sounded like Astrid was living inside a big block of stone like a cavewoman.

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  19. And now all I will see for the rest of the series is a Skylanders figurine. D:

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  20. I wonder when did the vikings build the hangar/custom stables for the dragons as seen in the second movie.

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  21. VelocityTheSpeedStingerJune 24, 2015 at 11:55 AM

    Meatlug is adorable! Looks like she got some updates to her model as well.

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  22. this is awesome!!! i'm very excited i'm dying!!

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  23. Astrid the awesomeJune 24, 2015 at 7:12 PM

    POTATOES!!!!!!!

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  24. OMG... i love hiccups house! lookin' good.

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  25. Ziggerastica's KalevalaJune 24, 2015 at 8:50 PM

    I just love hearing about how they resolve the technical issues of the Night Terrors. And not to mention finally give the maximum number TV animation can handle: Generally, no more than 11 rigged characters can be onscreen without delaying or crashing production time. Finally, someone defined that limitation. We've been wondering.

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  26. to bad hiccstrid won't be sharing a dorm but then again if they did the fandom would explode speaking of hiccstrid fans are gonna break the replay button tomorrow

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  27. there not going to show it tomorrow i bet

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  28. NightFuryLover31June 24, 2015 at 9:48 PM

    My best friend would name his Gronckle Potato, 'cause it's lazy!


    Very excited for new dragons and visuals!

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  29. VelocityTheSpeedStingerJune 24, 2015 at 10:42 PM

    I hate to ruin the hype for tomorrow, but with all 13 episodes coming out the very next day, I highly doubt there will even be a clip. If they do release something tomorrow, it will likely be just a quick 30-second trailer for the full release.
    But, the hardcore shippers will still break their replay buttons on Friday for sure. ;)

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  30. c mon dreamworks release the last clip tomorrow hiccstrid fans are thirsty for moments i got to see it at wc but the internet needs to see it to

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  31. I wish they showed a picture of Astrid's hut. Hearing that she made a "fortress" for a hut makes me think she's some kind of crazy minecraft builder

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  32. You must be so happy X3

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  33. I wonder how long it took them to build their huts

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  34. Well, hey, at least the episodes where the hiccstrid moments are will be released soon :3

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  35. Maybe they are coming to the series but just aren't appearing in the first 13 episodes

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  36. Stormfly's spine tail changed a lot

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  37. VelocityTheSpeedStingerJune 25, 2015 at 12:07 PM

    The new clip is with Fishlegs and Snotlout. Fishlegs for some unknown reason is out to fight a Scauldron in the middle of a stormy sea.

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  38. I just looked at Netflix, and the cover art came up with a trailer for this season! The spot is already there! Now for the episodes.....

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  39. xArabianGoddessxJune 25, 2015 at 1:24 PM

    I just want to see it. Please dear gods let this day go fast so I can watch this show and bask in all its glory! I charged my iPad for two days and I'm ready!

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  40. xArabianGoddessxJune 25, 2015 at 1:43 PM

    The moment I wish I remembered my username and password to go see the clip. :/

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  41. VelocityTheSpeedStingerJune 25, 2015 at 3:18 PM

    Can you make a new one?

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  42. yes very interesting

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  43. The Whisperer of DeathJune 26, 2015 at 7:35 AM

    Sorry.

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