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UMass students recreate ‘Game of Thrones’ opening scene for senior thesis project

By Steve Annear Globe Staff 

You won’t find King’s Landing on this map.

Two students from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth recreated the title sequence of the hit HBO series “Games of Thrones” for their senior thesis due this month. But instead of mountain ranges, valleys, and castles appearing on the landscape like they do at the start of each episode, their 3D map features buildings and structures from the university’s campus rising from the ground.

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Kate Dullea and Mathew Melo created their version of Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms, the fictional areas where bloodshed reigns supreme on the show, as part of their Digital Media course at the school’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.

“We just needed to come up with a project that showcased all the knowledge that we have learned about [in] our major in the last four years,” Melo said in an e-mail.

Paying homage to the “medieval soap opera,” as Melo called it, seemed like the perfect way to highlight what they had learned while attending the university.

“It’s probably safe to say we are obsessed with [the show],” he said.

Planning for the project began in December of last year, but the work didn’t get underway until sometime in January, according to Dullea.

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Using Autodesk Maya, a 3D computer animation program; Adobe Photoshop; and special video editing software, the students were able to mimic the opening credits of the show almost scene-for-scene.

Where castles and villages appear on the show’s map during the start of an episode, Dullea and Melo instead featured the school’s College of Visual and Performing Arts and the Foster Administration Building.

Their video also includes the recognizable blazing sun surrounded by metal rings, and the “Game of Thrones” theme song.

Keeping to a “very rigid schedule,” the duo completed the time-consuming and labor-intensive project in four months.

“We made sure to split this project up equally and to each of our strengths,” said Dullea. “It was a stressful project because of how little time we had, but Mat and I are an amazing team and worked incredibly well together.”

Dullea and Melo posted their final project, which was recently featured at a senior exhibition at the school, to YouTube this week.

They won’t find out what their grade on the project is for a few more days. But they aren’t too worried about the outcome. So far, feedback has been favorable.

“People at our senior exhibit last Saturday seemed extremely impressed, as well as the Digital Media department,” Melo said. “A lot of the school has been sharing it and retweeting it, and word about it is definitely spreading, so that’s good.”


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com
Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.