Welcome to the Dune Special Edition Project

This is a project I have been slowly working on over the last few years with the goal of ultimately replacing many of the "outdated" special effects shots in David Lynch's 1984 version of Dune.
The project initially began as an endeavor to build a "proper" ornithopter - one with flapping wings, that neither the movie or the mini-series managed to achieve. However, with the advent of the "fan-edit" the scope of the project has expanded with the goal of updating the effects in all those places in the movie where I feel things could be significantly "improved."
Although I am currently working on this by Myself, it's a large undertaking and if there is anyone interested in helping this project along, feel free to contact Me - We might actually be able to get this project completed with a few more skilled and enthusiastic people!

Sasha Burrow

If you are curious about My professional work, I have been working as a VFX artist (Among other things) at The Asylum for the past 6 years, including visual effects on all 4 Sharknado films (Mainly stuff blowing up!).

DUNE Special Edition: Showreel March 2010

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Spice Silos

Was taking a look through the DUNE blu-ray extra materials recently and noticed a cool pencil sketch that features a spice storage yard, so have whipped up a quick model and some very temporary textures. I had originally used the spice silo design from the DUNE 2000 video game, but would rather use original designs developed for the film where possible.
Still have to work on the layout of the silos as well.

Spice Silo from DUNE 2000 video game.

Original Spice Storage yard based on video game.

Spice factory and storage area as viewed from the palace at Arrakeen.
Concept sketch from film.

Spice storage area W.I.P.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

DUNE Weapons

Here are all the untextured weapons I have made so far (From left to right: Sardaukar Rifle and pistol, Harkonnen Rifle and Pistol and Atreides Rifle and Pistol) - completed the modeling on the Harkonnen pistol yesterday. I also went back in and made a few minor geometry tweaks on the other weapons and scaled them all to suitable size.
Still have to UV map them and do the texture/shader work - that probably won't happen for a while.
Also have the Fremen weaponry to work on - Crysknife, Needle Gun and Weirding Module.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


Finally got around to modeling the Harkonnen rifle today.
I only have one good reference images of the prop and some stills from the movie to work from.
Still need to tweak some of the details/proportions.

Examining the movie stills, it looks like the prop was hard to hold as the actors resort to holding onto the thick "wires" above the stock and the handle at the side (not visible in this render). There seems to be some confusion among the actors about which way up to hold the rifle - When Piter arrives and walks down the stairs all the guards are holding the guns with the wires facing down, while the two guards in the Baron's room that bring in the boy are holding the rifles wire size up.

Also IMHO, the magazine is waaaaay to small for a weapon with five barrels!

Need to do the Harkonnen pistol next.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Harkonnen Modular Environment

I'm still quietly working away on this project. A few bits here, a few bits there. Currently have been trying to build a modular Harkonnen environment based almost entirely on Piter's arrival and the introduction of the Baron and his nephews. There's not much else to work from - just the one redressed set later on when Thufir has been imprisoned.

That said, so far I have a couple of different walls, wall corners and ends, floor panels and grating and then some props - notably the TWO types of Harkonnen chair (Though I only have the one side  angle of the chair Rabban sits in) and the two tables (The one with the flowers on it and the small one next to Rabban with the squood on it), and the small wall lights.
Also noticed for the first time while reviewing some still from the movie, that one of the Harkonnen tropps carries a sort of odd looking "battle standard" - its the black pole on the right of the image with the "C" shapes at the top.

Need to UV and texture everything still... possibly going to take everything into UNREAL 4 game engine and see what I can achieve - we have had promising results at work and My directorial debut (Izzie's Way Home a full length 3d animated movie) was all rendered in UNREAL 4.

Also came across three more production paintings from DUNE that I had not seen before.

And there was an auction of the book of storyboards from the movie as well (I believe it was from a series of reductions of the storyboards made for the VFX team), so I was able to get a few still from that... though I would love to see the whole thing and put all the images online.

Other progress includes an overhaul of a lot of the old models - in particular The Emperor's flagship and Steel Tent - have been experimenting with with PBR (Physically Based Rendering), but while most of the results are good, I haven't been able to get the gold of the EMperor's ship to look right while in space as it tends to just reflect all the blackness!

Friday, April 1, 2016

DUNE - Behind The Scenes Video

Here is the behind the scenes program that was made to promote the movie at conventions and presumably on TV.

Emperor's Palace on Kaitain

Have been working a little on this scene, replacing the flat cards that previously made up the background city with some stock 3D sci-fi building models, added the searchlights on the towers and some other lights (still in progress) and finally got around to putting Kaitain's ring in the sky to draw attention down to the Palace, along with a much better sky image.

Next to do is get a decent guild ship model - right now its basically just a big rectangle as I only have the plans for the underside and the upper portion of it is a bit vague and hard to make out in the movie, and then work on the lighting, which needs considerable work - right now the palace foreground is a little too subdued and the city too "close".

 Here's the original "miniature"!!! (Below)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Emperor's "Selamlik" - Work In Progress

Frank Herbert uses the term "Selamlik" to describe the metal "tent" that the Emperor's uses as his base while dealing with the Arrakis affair.

"The selamlik (Turkish: selamlık) was the portion of a Ottoman palace or house reserved for men; as contrasted with the seraglio, which is reserved for women and forbidden to men.
Selamlik was also a portion of the household reserved for the guests (from the root word selam, "greeting"), similar to the andronites (courtyard of men) in Ancient Greece, where guests would be welcomed by the males of the household. The harem is the portion for the family."

The description from the novel:

"It wasn't the lighter that excited Stilgar's awe, Paul knew, but the construction for which the lighter was only the centerpost. A single metal hutment, many stories tall, reached out in a thousand-meter circle from the base of the lighter - a tent composed of interlocking metal leaves - the temporary lodging place for five legions of Sardaukar and His Imperial Majesty, the Padishah Empror Shaddam IV."

Other details include Gurney Halleck's observation that it has 9 levels (Instead of only 6 in the movie version).

Below you can see the original model being prepped for filming, how it appears in the movie - as seen by Paul through the oil lenses of his binoculars, then two of My work in progress renders, the first matching the same angle as the movie version but with the camera pulled further back to permit visibility of the entire structure and the second render revealing more of the environment, including two Spice Harvesters and the Baron Harkonnen's ship.

I am looking at rebuilding all the DUNE 3D models I have made to take advantage of the improvements in 3D since I first made them - in particular to take advantage of new more realistic rendering engines that should help to take the CG curse off of the images.

As a side note, the image with the sand-crawlers took 37 minutes 53 seconds to render out on My machine at home, while a render at work during My lunch break, took only 7 minutes 19 seconds!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Piter's Arrival - The Harkonnen Tram sequence

One of the more poorly edited sequences in the movie revolves around Piter De Vries arrival at the Harkonnen capital by tram. As depicted in the movie it is a really confusing set of shots which also includes some terrible compositing and blue screen work.
Only the final shot with the matte painting of the interior of the massive industrial complex is well done.
To this end I have been working away on building the two major features from that sequence - the massive industrial building and the creepy "oil burners" with the strange baby faces which are barely seen in the movie.
This is an update on what I had previously done in an attempt to make it more "movie" accurate given what references I have of it.
Still a lot of work to be don on it to match the model better and the face is nowhere near correct yet, but the elements are starting to come together.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Just for fun I decided to make some card back mock ups for "Dune SE" action figures, using a modified version of the original Kenner star wars card back - since I always felt those were some of the best looking action figure card backs.
Also found some pictures of the original LJN action figures and some custom made ones.
There are different colour backgrounds depending on which faction they belong to.

PREVIZ: Folding Space: Interior


Here is some early "Previz" animation I have been working on to try and work out a better way to handle the scenes of Guild Navigator folding space.
I would like to try and stay close to what was originally envisioned for the sequence, while keeping what is going on clear to the audience.