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is a project I have been slowly working on over the last few years with the goal of ultimately replacing many of the "outdated" special effects shots in David Lynch's 1984 version of Dune.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

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Imperial Ornithopter Concept

 So I also played around with an Imperial 'thopter to appear briefly during the exterior shots of the Emperor's palace on Kaitain, based on concept art by Ville Ericsson?
With the still work-in-progress adaptable folding wing design from the Atreides 'thopter.
The other issue of course is the Atreides 'thopter is also Gold.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

DUNE Ornithopter Rework

 Updated Atreides Ornithopter with reconfigurable wing mechanism which allows for a number of dynamic poses.
While the new 2021 film uses a dragonfly as an inspiration, I am going more with ocean-going seabird (Like an albatross) that only flaps its wings when it needs to, before fucking them in when diving down low. This is also because in the novel, the wings are described as changing their shape depending on what the pilot is doing (Eg for take off).

Friday, November 10, 2017

Sardaukar prepare to defend their Emperor.

Here is a work-in-progress of a new version of the shot where the Sardaukar rush forth from the Emperor's steel tent and prepare to engage the approaching Fremen.

The original shot seems almost as if it was a last minute rush job - It doesn't look like one of the many clever Emilio Ruiz del Rio shots (Whereby a miniature was filmed on a high platform to carefully match live action filmed at the same time.). This looks like a miniature was was filmed and then the Sardaukar were composited onto it later - but that the live action portion didn't have enough lighting on it, leading to the Sardaukar becoming a dark blob in the center of the frame. This is exacerbated by the greenish tint to the live action which doesn't match the surrounding miniature.
The searchlights have been added in post as well and don't seem to really be coming from where the Emperor's ship would be positioned at the top of the tent.

Referring to the book it seems that there are a large number of Harkonnen vehicles present as well...
"He swung the telescope to the far side of the Arrakeen landing field now, to the Harkonnen frigates lined up there with a CHOAM company banner waving gently from its staff on the ground beneath them..."

Right now, the Sardaukar are temporary models and they are not yet moving quite right. I will probably have more of them coming forth as well as the Steel Tent contains 5 Legions of them (Per the book).

From WIKIPEDIA: "A typical legion of this period had 5,120 legionaries as well as a large number of camp followers, servants and slaves. Legions could contain as many as 6,000 fighting men when including the auxiliaries, although much later in Roman history the number was reduced to 1,040 to allow for greater mobility."

So the Emperor could have as many as 30,000 men or as few as 5,200. Going with the typical number of 5120 per legion that would mean 25,600 Sardaukar are in this structure.

However in the film the Emperor states. "I want 50 legion of Sardaukar on Arrakis at once!". He obviously doesn't bring them all down with him!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Harkonnen Oil Burner

Harkonnen oil burner - Work in progress. The 3D model still needs a load of work still
I feel the shots in the original film really don't come close to the production art (And the compositing is ropy at best).
Still working out the colour scheme for the environment - though Harko City will still remain the same blue & green colour.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Some minor updates to some of the VFX shots I am working on...

All shots are still very much work in progress, but several were done for an upcoming fan-edit by another editor.

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.