For all the talk about practical props and sets on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, none of it would have worked without the digital component provided by Industrial Light & Magic.
A new video released by the VFX house shows just how they blurred the line between what was real and what was imagined entirely through pixels.
For instance, Rey’s Speeder was a real device, but it had four wheels and a chassis that effects artists had to remove digitally to create the illusion it was floating above the desert floor. That crashed hulk of a Star Destroyer? Rather than just a matte painting, it was crafted as a model, using thousands of pieces, which provides a hairsbreadth of dimensionality as the camera tracks Rey racing by in front of it.
Much of the work involves filling in the background — and sometimes adding stormtroopers — as we see in the clip of Finn frog-marching Poe Dameron out of the First Order’s clutches.
This video highlights the layers of work it took to create the environments and creatures of The Force Awakens. Not just set builders, not just actors, not just hair and make-up people or creature designers, but a whole team — some manipulating the real world, others imagining one that only exists on screen.
After watching the video, listen to EW’s exclusive podcast with J.J. Abrams and his visual effects team as they dive even deeper into how they fused real and imagined elements in the creation of the galaxy.
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