Fylde coast graphics and VFX studio wins plaudits after year of Discworld dragons and A Discovery of Witches magic

A Fylde coast digital effects studio is celebrating its 25th year by creating dragons for the TV Discworld adaptation, The Watch, and A Discovery of Witches.

By Tim Gavell
Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 4:55 am

The independent computer graphics business which has two UK studios - one on a converted farm in rural Westby and another in Manchester’s city centre has won plaudits for its work on the fantasy shows and for its in-game movie clips.

Realtime's work on the second season of A Discovery of Witches is a finalist for Best VFX at the Broadcast Tech Innovation Awards and the viral trailer for Unknown Entertainment’s Subnautica: Below Zero, won the Vega Digital Award for Best Animation.

Both projects were awarded a special merit at the AEAF awards earlier this year.

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A still from the award-winning CGI movie made by Realtime UK for the computer game Subnautica: Below Zero by Unknown Entertainment

The firm, founded by former Blackpool College of Art students Tony Prosser, Steve Kerswell and Jon Clayton, was chosen by BBC America for its comic story based on the hapless police unit from the city of Ankh-Morpork from Terry Pratchet's Discworld novels.

The team were tasked with creating the cute CGI dragon Goodboy, used like a hand-held flamer-thrower by character Lady Sybil Ramkin, and the giant Noble Dragon, all darkness, smoke and flames, which threatens the city itself. The creatures can be seen on BBC iPlayer.

Chief executive Tony Prosser said: "The amazing thing about working on shows like The Watch and A Discovery of Witches is the adventure and fantasy element of the shows.

"We were tasked with crafting magic and designing dragons, but the real challenge is grounding everything in reality so that it’s believable for the viewer.”

The company has worked on special creature effects for Sky TV’s A Discovery of Witches

The company started off creating CG imagery for the automotive sector for clients including McLaren, Audi, and Ford. But developed into making video game trailers and in-game cinematics for clients across the globe, including Rare, Codemasters, Disney Interactive and Microsoft Game Studios.

In the past few years, the studio has moved into the broadcast sector, crafting photorealistic VFX and animated characters for shows including BBC’s The War of the Worlds and Sky TV’s A Discovery of Witches.

Realtime established a TV VFX department to further support this effort, expanding the size of the studio by 60 per cent in 2021.

Tony added: "It is an extremely exciting time to be in the CG space, as we are seeing a huge growth in the demand for high-quality content across the automotive, games and broadcast sectors. Being a local home-grown company from the North-West, we are hugely proud of our history and legacy.

Realtime created the dragons for BBC America's The Watch including Lady Sybil Ramekin's tiny but dangerous Goodboy

"The focus for the next few years will be nurturing fresh talent that can benefit from the well-seasoned experts that we already have."

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