Computer Graphics World

Edition 1 2018

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e d i t i o n 1 , 2 0 1 8 | c g w 1 9 DREADNOUGHT This First Order ship, whose full name is Siege Dreadnought Fulminatrix, is nearly three times larger than a Star Destroy- er, which is not a small ship itself. Named after a World War I battleship that was so impressive the name became generic, the Star Wars Dreadnought has 24 cannons and two orbital bombardment guns atop its flat surface and dropping down from the bottom. Lucasfilm Design Supervisor and ILM Senior Art Director Kevin Jenkins designed the spear-tip shaped, 25,162.8-foot armored gunship. Artists at ILM London modeled and textured the ginormous asset. "We had one level of large panels, one of medium, and then smaller panels that we set dressed using our [digital] model kits," says Mike Mulholland, visual effects supervisor at ILM London. "We also cut the ship into parts: the bridge section, the nose cone, the belly-button target area, the central zipper. We put together these individual assets using our hierarchical pipeline because we couldn't load the entire model." The pipeline was designed to work within ILM's digital model shop group where artists modeled and textured the ship. "The modelers were able to run shot-level dressing, as well," Mulholland says. "When the camera is close to the surface, they would add extra detail on a shot-by-shot basis." ly lit through Katana. Effects artists created the destruction in Houdini and with ILM's Plume. They rendered the destruction in the hangar with Plume or with Side Effects' Mantra, depending on what was most efficient. Katana rendering moved through RenderMan. For the initial destruction of the Mega Destroyer, though, the team turned to Clarisse for its ability to manage the vast amount of debris. Star Wars: The Last Jedi begins and ends in the Jedi village on that remote island off the southwest coast of Ireland. The artists in Vancouver added set extensions and animated the charming little creatures, the Porgs, that inhabit the island. "They're oen animatronics, and we didn't want to shatter that feeling," Seddon says. "We added some humor and nuanced behaviors, made them fly, and created some brothers and sisters. But, we all liked how charming the animatronics were. So, we put a lot of time into making them authentic CGI animatronics. We did a lot of takes trying to capture what Rian liked about them." High-tech tools and some of the best vi- sual effects artists in the world creating low- tech worlds. Worlds that the most nostalgic Star Wars fans believe are part of the same galaxy that thrilled audiences in 1977. It might look simple. But it isn't easy. Barbara Robertson (BarbaraRR@comcast. net) is an award-winning writer and a con- tributing editor for CGW. This odd-looking humanoid female is a pirate and smuggler who, as a fully formed digital character, gave Rey and then Finn a lightsaber in The Force Awakens. In The Last Jedi, when Finn and Rose need to find a codebreaker, they contact Maz through a holographic transmission. Maz hovers in the hologram long enough to talk to Finn, and then zooms off using a jetpack to exit the frame. For both films, Lupita Nyong'o plays the role of Maz, and the crew motion-captured her performance. But Maz is only four feet tall, with a wrinkled face that only vaguely resembles that of a human and is so physiologically different from Nyong'o that animators created the character's performance in both films us- ing keyframe animation rather than motion-capture data. "The big challenge with Maz is that her character moves quite differently in this film [The Last Jedi] compared to how she was in The Force Awakens, says ILM's Steve Aplin, who was overall animation supervisor. "She appears in a holographic bubble in the midst of a battle, moving quickly and with some agility around the destroyed remnants of an unknown city. There's smoke and debris everywhere, and the holographic image is highly degenerated, so we had to focus on giving her strong, readable silhouettes to ensure her storytelling was clear. Added to this was the idea Rian had that the bubble has been shot by a Star Wars version of a GoPro camera, always hovering at a set distance, as if attached to Maz, to give the scene its unique feel. We ended up giving our animators a real GoPro camera to hold at arm's length whilst they ran around our acting room, repli- cating Lupita's actions to better inform the animation of both camera and Maz together." MAZ KANATA

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