Friday STAR WARS Dweebing
We've gotten word from Phil Brown's family that he will no longer be filling requests to sign autographs. Please help us spread the word that the 89 year old actor best known as Uncle Owen in Star Wars : A New Hope is putting down the pen for good. EDITOR’S NOTE: SAD, BUT INEVITABLE. (I MEAN, HE LOOKED FRAIL 7 YEARS AGO, SO I CAN ONLY IMAGINE HOW FRAGILE HE IS NOW).
The EVOLUTION OF SPACE BATTLES
As the digital future began to unveil itself in the early '90s, John Knoll saw its potential. ILM was constantly innovating, using their high-end systems to produce the CGI effects that wowed audiences in The Abyss, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Jurassic Park. These astounding visuals required a robust processing pipeline to produce, but Knoll saw advantages in creating relatively simple digital effects outside that pipeline.
"I developed a bit of a frustration that we didn't have a particularly good way of doing simple work inexpensively," explains Knoll. "I started becoming an advocate of trying to use inexpensive off-the-shelf commercial systems for doing simple work. Use the complicated stuff for the complicated work, and do the simple stuff with simple tools."
To that end, Knoll produced a convincing proof-of-concept test in 1993 of dog-fighting X-wing fighters and TIE fighters, all done with off-the-shelf desktop tools. "Nothing happened for quite a while, until 1995 when George Lucas decided that he was going to revamp the Star Wars pictures a little bit," recalls Knoll. "I pitched doing the revised space battle using some of these techniques."
The end result was a number of updated space battle shots done entirely on consumer-level computers.EDITOR’S NOTE: ALBEIT, NOT WITH RUN-OF-THE-MILL CONSUMERS DOING THE WORK, YES?
It worked so well that similar techniques and tools were used for Episode I.
"I spent a lot of time studying the 'style book' of Star Wars -- the way the shots were lit, the way they were composed, how the movement of the ships worked -- because I felt it was very important that the new space battles still feel like Star Wars," says Knoll.
The digital models allowed the color and shapes of the ships to move past the restrained bluescreen-friendly designs of optically printed models, but for Episode I, they weren't all digital. The massive Trade Federation battleships were hulking miniatures to capture the detail required of them. "The big ships I still did as a miniature, because at the time I was really concerned with how heavy this model would be. A model like this could easily become several million CVs [surface control vertices], so I had grave concerns of being able to render something like that."
Now fast forward to Episode III. Not only are the ILM computers able to handle the complex geometry of something as big and detailed as a Trade Federation battleship, but they handle thousands of warships in battle over Coruscant, with detail so fine that the snubfighters and audience can fly right up to them, just a few meters above their hulls.
"I've definitely been a beneficiary of Moore's Law," says Knoll, describing the 1965 prediction that computer power will double every 18 months. "This time, it looked like we were capable of creating big ships all in computer graphics. We have advanced quite a bit in our ability to handle dense hard surface models and have very high resolution textures on them, and to be able to render them efficiently."
Whereas a few years ago, the scale of one ship would have required it to be a miniature, for Episode III the scale of the battle involving big ships meant it was much easier and more cost-effective to do it digitally. "It's a huge fleet," says Knoll. "There are many, many of these ships and you don't want to have to spend a lot of time on stage shooting 16 different model elements to go into shots. It's very expensive to do. Of course, it's a lot cheaper to do in computer graphics."
Disney Parks Star Tours Figures
September 12, 2005
Your favorite Star Wars and Star Tours characters are here!
These awesome figures are available now exclusively at Disney theme parks. EDITOR’S NOTE: THAT SEALS IT; WE HAVE TO GO BACK!
Mickey joins Yoda in the battle against the Dark Side
Jedi Master Yoda may be small, but he's still the most powerful Jedi in the Galaxy. Now Mickey takes up his lightsaber and joins the Jedi Knights in their battle against the Dark Side. Available exclusively at Disney theme parks. EDITOR’S NOTE: JUST LIKE THE POSTER! (THIS ONE ROCKS)!
Star Tours Droids
Whenever your plans call for intergalactic transport, you can count on Star Tours for state-of-the-art travel excitement! Now meet the droids who ensure that the Starspeeder 3000 is running smoothly. Available exclusively at Disney theme parks.
Star Tours Collector Packs
These mini figures feature all your favorite Star Wars and Star Tours characters. Each Collector Pack includes three figures -- buy or trade them to collect all 18! Available exclusively at Disney theme parks. EDITOR’S NOTE: OK, THESE ARE EVIL. NOT ONLY DO YOU HAVE TO GO TO DW TO GET THEM, YOU HAVE TO BUY MULTIPLE PACKS TO GET ALL 18. (THAT’S JUST MEAN AND GREEDY).
Exclusive Holiday Darth Vader
Star Wars Shop has announced the upcoming Darth Vader "Sith-inspired" 2005 holiday action figure available exclusively at the official store.
This exclusive edition has a red metallic finish. Displayed loose on the base, Vader fits perfectly alongside the previous holiday edition figures.
The classic Original Trilogy Collection-style card not only features the standard metallic wrap-around logo (showcased for the first time in red), but also depicts a Ralph McQuarrie-inspired backdrop of the Executor bridge decked out in holiday décor. Additionally, a figure-exclusive holiday greeting card is also included, this time illustrated with a whimsical scene of Vader building a "snowtrooper".
EDITOR’S NOTE: NOTHING GETS ME IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT MORE THAN A GOOD DARTH VADER TRINKET. AHH YES…….
The Vader figure will retail for $14.99.
Darth Vader bares his true colors in this decidedly Sith-inspired 2005 holiday action figure available exclusively here at the official store. The very first Vader figure to make a holiday appearance, it's also the first to be designed for display in a variety of showcase settings with or without the base.
This exclusive edition has a red metallic finish (not vac-metallized, as previously reported), and would make a standout addition to the silver series figures released in recent years. Also, with the color red so closely associated with the Sith (lightsabers, royal guards, Darth Maul), this red Vader represents a rare but fitting diversion from the man in black's iconic dark décor.
But for those who prefer to keep their scarlet Darth in the holiday spirit year-round, this figure makes a fantastic presentation piece both on and off the card. Displayed loose on the base, Vader fits perfectly alongside the previous holiday edition figures. On the card, however, is where this vermillion Vader really shines.
The classic Original Trilogy Collection-style card not only features the standard metallic wrap-around logo (showcased for the first time in red), but also depicts a Ralph McQuarrie-inspired backdrop of the Executor bridge decked out in holiday décor. EDITOR’S NOTE: WANNA BET THE IMPERIAL OFFICER WHO THUSLY DARED TO FESTOON THE BRIDGE OF A STAR DESTROYER WAS FORCE-CHOKED BEFORE YOU COULD SAY ‘FA LA LA LA LA”? Additionally, a figure-exclusive holiday greeting card is also included, this time illustrated with a whimsical scene of Vader building a "snowtrooper".
The reverse of the cardback calls out the fact that this figure is a StarWarsShop exclusive, and will be sent securely in a StarWarsShop-branded Star Case. This 2005 edition is limited, so make sure you pick one, two, or three up for yourself and those on your gift list this year!
WOOKKIE BLOW YOUR HORN ----This burly Wookiee warrior (Steven Foy) sounds a war clarion, calling his people to combat.
DANGLING JEDI ----It's not so big a drop from this Utapau landing platform with the visual effects removed -- Ewan McGregor "dangles" over a greenscreen floor on Stage One at Fox Studios Australia.
HE AIN'T HEAVY ---Rather than run with the full weight of Ewan McGregor on his shoulders, Hayden Christensen had to carry a life-like dummy of Obi-Wan for scenes such as this.
SAY GOODNIGHT, GRACIE ---This conference room within the Mustafarfacility (in actuality, Stage Two at Fox Studios Australia) will be Nute Gunray's last.
JABBA UNDER PRESSURE ---The Creature Department was tasked with developing so many aliens under such a tight deadline for Return of the Jedi, that such pressure often manifested itself in strange ways.