See how Star Trek: Picard's big reveal was built in CG layers

Learn how real actors and CG starships combine in this glimpse behind the scenes of the latest visual effects.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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Life is never boring on the Borg cube.


Ever wanted to see how a Borg spaceship is built? Now you can, and without any risk of being assimilated by the iconic baddies from Star Trek: Picard

This video shows how visual effects company Pixomondo used computer-generated imagery to conjure the Borg cube seen in Star Trek: Picard, available now on CBS All Access in the USA and Amazon Prime Video elsewhere. (Disclosure: CNET is owned by ViacomCBS.)

Some of the show's crucial plot twists unfold on a damaged spaceship that's in the process of being painstakingly explored and excavated. When we first arrive on the devastated vessel, the camera pulls back through the levels of the ship -- and keeps going, and going, before shooting out into space and revealing the twist: these odd events are unfolding on a vast Borg cube.

The video shows how the shot was made, beginning with real actors standing on a set. As the camera pulls back, computer-generated effects extend the set around the actors. Then as we pull back further and the real actors recede, more and more digital elements are added until we land on the final entirely computer-generated shot of the Borg Cube.

The video shows how the visual effects crew build up a CG visual effect, starting with a skeleton and then adding in layers of shading and lighting.

For more trailers and videos spotlighting new streaming shows on CBS All Access, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and more, check out Stream Source on YouTube.

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