Pixomondo shares secrets from the Borg Cube

When the Star Trek: Picard images and trailers were shown for the first time, one of the most striking things about the new show was the way the Borg Cube looked. It was still obviously recognizable to Star Trek fans, but something was different in the way this cube looked from the original, as seen in the Next Generation episode “Q Who,” back in 1989.

To create that new, more textured look of the 24th Century Cube for the 21st Century viewing audience, producers turned to special effects house Pixomondo. Recently, Dan Smiczek, the Computer Graphics Supervisor at Pixomondo spoke with Vincent Frei on his site, The Art of VFX.

With Frei, Smiczek gave very detailed responses on how the Pixomondo team overcame various challenges when creating the new Cube.

Smiczek said one of the first items to tackle was how to light for a Cube in the middle of the darkness of space. Much of the light was generated from within the cube and from the small ships which surrounded it.

“We took some liberties creating a strong light source as well as some bounce light,” said Smiczek in the interview. “Each shot of the Borg Cube had to be art directed to try and bring out its complex detail and immense size.”

Another interesting tip revealed by Smiczek was that the area which the actors operated in the Cube was very small, and that the set for the La Sirena was much larger.

“The main Borg Cube set was two levels but a relatively small footprint inside of a soundstage,” said Smiczek. “There was also another generic Borg Cube set that could be reconfigured by moving around Borg Cube pillars to create multiple environments. The set for the ship La Sirena was quite large covering two floors and filling an entire soundstage.”

Check out the complete interview at the The Art of VFX site.