SPOILER ALERT: The Force of VXF Awakens

If you have not yet seen the newest and arguably the best addition to the Star Wars Saga, look away now, close your browser and come back when you have…

In celebration of its 5 Oscar nominations, Disney have released a before and after reel of it’s most recent and much anticipated blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens revealing the tricks of the trade when it comes to VFX. UPDATE: Unfortunately the video itself has been removed from the internet, we’ve replaced this with a commentary style version of the original.

Star Wars Visual Effects Screenshot
Source: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3may5f_fa-vfx_shortfilms

Below, our Star Wars fanatic and talented motion designer Alex explains the award winning effects.

“As you can see all of the live action shots are shot in front of a green or blue screen depending on the colours in the original footage. The coloured screen is then digitally extracted from the footage so that practically anything can be layered behind the actor, mostly being used to place them in a different environment. The red crosses you see in some of the greenscreen shots enable the compositors (experts in mixing live action and digital footage seamlessly together) to use software that tracks these crosses and re-creates the camera movements from the original shot, so that it looks as natural as possible and blends in perfectly.

 The 3D elements such as the environments and ships etc would have been modelled in 3D software before being rendered and composited in to create the final shot. Other effects such as physics like fire, smoke and debris would have their own software such as Houdini. In many shots where these effects are used, live action elements are used as well to help difficult lighting from effects like fire blend more realistically with the actors in the scene.”

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Alex Hilbert – Stada Video Motion Designer

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