Platform Matters Not: Star Wars Episode II

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Date: Tuesday, June 4th, 2002, 08:22
Category: Archive

Apple, with Lucas and Maya, continues to hype the benefits of OS X for animation, and Apple gets a pre-visualization credit in the crawl at the end of Episode II, but Rob Coleman, Animation Director, tells Animation World Magazine high-end animators are more or less platform-agnostic, particularly with firms like ILM using a lot of their own in-house software.

That in itself is a pretty good endorsement of Apple, which is dramatically cheaper than competing high-end Silicon Graphics iron, but you’ll only see “a tiny, tiny amount” of Mac-generated animation in Episode II, says Coleman. One instance: the brilliant flying R2D2 by Mac-based animator Billy Brooks. The article claims even Lucas thought it was a prop, not CG.

Regardless of platform wars, it’s hard not to admire Episode II for its sheer CG artistry: even people who hated the rest of the movie came back cheering for Digital Yoda. And yes, there are some traditional techniques like miniatures, hard models, and puppets in there, as well. Go inside the Skywalker Ranch with Animation World to find out how it was done. Other tips on behind-the-scenes digital animation? Any CG animators out there? Hit the feedback link.

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