The terms Of measurement used to support this point are the utilization and technical progression of computer generated imagery used in set design and the physical creation Of characters. The sources seed in this essay include the films Star Wars: Episode V and Star Wars: Episode Ill. Additional primary sources used include interviews from bonus DVD documentaries with director George Lucas.
The thesis, over the course of the Star Wars saga there is sufficient evidence to between the first and second sets of trilogies was not supported. The evidence provided by the sources used in the argument indicated that continuity was not achieved. Word count: 233 Table of Contents Introduction Argument Set Design Characters Conclusion Bibliography 4 The six part Star Wars series tells the story of intergalactic conflict between the roses of good and evil in the universe.
The “force”, a metaphysical power that exists within us all and is more prevalent in some, allows us to communicate with the world around LOS_ In the prequel trilogy, Jed knight Quiz-goon Jinn, a guardian Of intergalactic peace, discovers Manikin Sneaker and believes he is the one prophesied to bring overall balance to the force. Manikin, his conscious clouded by fear, learned that by joining the “dark side” he could save those he loved from death.
In joining the dark side Manikin took the name Dearth Evader, became a sits lord which is the antithesis of a Jed Knight, and lost everything and everyone he Ovid. During the original trilogy we meet young Luke Jaywalker, who we later learn is Dearth Evader’s son. He defeats the sits lords not once, but twice, and realizes that he, not his father, is the “chosen one” who was predicted to bring balance to the force. After defeating his father, and the evil Emperor Palatine, Luke ends the reign of the Sits lords and this allows for the return of the Jed.
Due to the hiatus been the production of the original and prequel trilogy Lucas purposely chose to take, there is doubt whether continuity truly exists between the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy, The purpose of this paper is o examine how set design and the creation to characters compare when created with analog effects with those created by computer generated images to answer the research question: were the creators of the six part Star Wars series, specifically in Episode Ill: Revenge of the Sits and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, able to create continuity between the antiquated and modern trilogies, specifically through the utilization of set design and the creation of characters?
This essay will explore the thesis, that over the course of the Star Wars saga there is sufficient evidence to support the claim that the creators were able to create sense of continuity between the first and second sets of trilogies. The terms of measurement used in my essay include set-design, costume and make-up, as well as Stunts which use computer generated imagery. The term set-design refers to the background images seen in the films, set design includes buildings, plant life, bodies of water, and all Other nonliving entities on screen. Set design is generally a combination of sets built on a sound Stage and green screens Which become scenery in post production editing.
Also to be considered is the costume and make up design through out the series. This reticular area includes various creatures created either through computer generated images or antiquated costume techniques. Special effects were a large component in the Star Wars series and helped to create galactic battles and light saber duels, where both analog effects were used along side computer generated imagery. Computer generated imagery is the application of computer graphics to a film to produce larger than life special effects or simulate the impossible. Analog, in terms of special effects, refers to man made sets or costumes, something tangible, as well as pyrotechnic or rigged stunts.
Blue screen, or more commonly the green screen, refers to a screen used as a general backdrop on which images can be overlaid in post production editing using CGI technology in order to avoid costly sets or to produce a background impossible to recreate in reality, The plan of investigation will incorporate specific quotations from several articles which discuss the use of analog and computer generated imagery in the star wars trilogies. Additionally two films, Episode Ill: The Revenge of the Sits and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, will be used as representation of their captive trilogy in order to determine whether continuity was accomplished in the overall series. Behind the scenes, interviews With George Lucas, and documentaries on the creation of the films will be used as sources.
Finally, discussion and interviews With those associated With the film industry, specifically those educated in computer generated images Will be used as primary sources. “This is real, this is real, this is real, not so real, not so real, not so real,” said George Lucas, the director Of the Star Wars series, as he feverishly marked storyboards. This process of highlighting different parts of a shot on a black and White storyboard was a genius way Of color coding What components Of each individual shot would be created by physical sets or costumes and what would be created digitally. Lucas spent years creating an entire universe in his mind and now that he was no longer limited by technology his imagination could become reality.
The worlds he imaged were unbelievably detailed and dangerously optimistic for the technology available during the production of the original trilogy, “My original vision for Star Wars was to have a lot of epic scale to t,” (Lucas) What Lucas means by epic scale is not only would the sets be enormous, but that the characters and plot would reflect aspects of epic’s in literature. While his films do not relate openly to any specific epic they share common characteristics such as the plot revolving around a savior and heroic feats. Set design in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back was considered to be ahead of it’s time as it utilized techniques such as matte and blueberries. “l know it’s goanna work because it’s impossible,” (Lucas).
The high standards to which Lucas held both himself as well as the creative teams that produced the worlds of Lacuna’s mind are the factors that are solely responsible for the ultimate creation of Star Wars. In my opinion this passion and excitement for proposing the impossible and creating something even more unfathomable is the driving force behind Lacuna’s genius. For the most part the crew had to produce large scale sets for scenes with tremendous amounts Of action because the computer generated images simply were not able to realistically create the effect of humans in motion. For example, the battle on the ice covered planet Hot, was shot on a glacier in Norway as opposed to being completely digitally created.
The set crew dug trenches and built life size battle stations for the film. The complexity of creating a digital world through computer generated images is an enormous task and paired with the lack of sufficient technology a battle of epic proportions would have been impossible to create digitally. Physical sets were the the best choice in this case, and while other directors may have chosen to attempt to create a digital world, Lucas chose to film the battle on planet Hot without blue screens because, in general, actors are able to create a more authentic feel if they can see and react o what is physically around them, The technique used for most of the film was a method of compiling images on top of one another.
Layering images is now considered antiquated, however, at the time, this method was used for many scenes that took place in deep space and needed a background that could not be recreated in reality, An example of this process can be seen when the Millennium Falcon fought its way thorough an asteroid field. Within the shot there oeuvre several levels of images which created a realistic effect when combined. The first layer of this scene was the backdrop f a Star field and a shot Of an empire destroyer was superimposed on top Of this. The Final layer was the image of the Millennium Falcon, flying away through laser’s Which were painted in, on each individual shot, by artists in the animation department.
The painting in of laser beams is similar to the method Of Stop motion, having to slightly tweak something in each frame to create the illusion of movement. It is interesting to see how Lucas uses older techniques in his films instead of choosing the most technical route. The way he is able to appreciate the ingenious methods of those who created masterpieces before him ND combine their methods with his own is unique talent. In contrast to the set design in the original trilogy, the amount of computer generated imagery used in the prequel trilogy was much greater merely because the technology was available and Lucas seized the opportunity to be a pioneer in the field of computer generated imagery by integrating the digital art into his films.
An extraordinary example of computer generated imagery in Episode Ill: The Revenge of the Sits, is the set design to the planet Mustard. This is the arena where the final battle between Manikin and Obi-wan takes place. Every detail of this planet was dreamt up by George Lucas and was created through technology used by animation team’s and the artists at I. L_M. ‘The real point is how can we, at ELM, manage to change the operating procedures in a way that we can completely revolutionize the way we make movies so this is doable? ” (Rick McCollum) The word change in the quote is the key term to describe the production of Star Wars and it’s use Of technology.
Star Wars is revolutionary film in the way that expressionism was once revolutionary in the world Of visual arts. Creating new ways to bring the unimaginable to life is a evolutionary step in the world of cinematic technology and Lucas was able to harness the potential power Of this digital means Of creation and use it to his advantage. The first shot in which the audience sees the planet is a wide angle establishing shot of Padres computer generated ship entering the plants atmosphere. The planet is, in essence, an undulating sea of magma. It’s landscape is riddled with erupting volcano spewing lava in every direction. There are canyons made of dark, rocky channels with flowing rivers of fiery slang at the bottom.
Droid’s dart here and there taking care of the industrial jobs, arraying heaping buckets of magma, fixing structures, or mining the rock walls which line the peristaltic flow. This attention to detail is a trademark of Lucas. It is expected to Lucas, as well as his creative teams, to be overly detailed in their creation of realistically fantastic planets in galaxies far away, because without the minute details the audience is prone to feel as if the film they are watching is not based in reality, The process for creating the planet was extensive to say the least, “The theatrical cinema as we know it is story telling and so the technology is used to tell a story ND tats the whole point,” (Lucas).
Lucas, as discussed, is the leader of the computer generated revolution in the eyes of millions, Where films had tried, and succeeded, to use computer generated imagery, Lucas was able to create a popular culture sensation which drove home the point that he was at the top of the digital field as far as cinematic advances are concerned. New techniques were utilized in every episode Of the prequel trilogy, for example, computer generated imagery was a main component in the creation of more than two thirds Of the shots in Episode I. Lucas reported that there was at least one computer generated component in nearly every scene. This allowed for the epic scale Of the unimaginable to be reached. The foundation of the planet was created by a team of animators. They used schematics from the art department, with direction from Lucas, to produce an electronic blue print for the planet.
Mustard is layer upon layer of computer generated images with minute changes on each level, this is similar to the method of composing matte images on top of one another, however this new technique is digital which clearly shows the evolution of technology. While the films contrast in many aspects there are definite areas of overlap, for example, in Episode V blue screen was used to create special effects. After Luke Jaywalker’s duel with Dearth Avatar, he hangs on to the ledge of a walkway with a seemingly endless drop beneath him. That is what is seen by the audience. In reality both the actor and ledge were created on a sound stage, and shot with a blue screen behind it.
An arrests matte rendition of what lay below Luke Jaywalker was then superimposed on the negative space left by the blue screen, This integration of matte and blueberries was genius because at the time the gait imaging was not yet as detailed as a matte rendering of a scene In Episode Ill blue and green screen were used to create the background for the epic battle between Obi-wan and Manikin on the planet Mustard_ Interestingly Lucas chose to integrate green screen technology directly onto the set by painting sections Of the physical set green Which enabled the actors to interact With a set while allowing the team at AL. M to add an extreme amount of detail in post production. Model sets were used in both films, “We still use a lot of methods that we used in the very first film. Lucas) This is interesting because it shows, again, how Lucas reaches back into the past to revive techniques which ultimately bring the best result. “Sometimes nothing beats the old fashion use of models and miniatures,” (Lucas), In episode Ill the artists create a model of a lava filled channel on Mustard. They used break away Styrofoam which can be easily modeled to look like rock, food preservatives as magma coupled with under lighting to create the glow of natural lava, and model industrial buildings, This large model was created with the intention to giving I. L. M a map tort their computer generated images. However, Lucas used footage of “lava” flowing down through the model, with digital images layered on top of it, in the final motion picture.
Physical Character Development The physical creation of characters, how the characters came to life through the use of costumes and make-up combined with computer generated images, begin with characters that exist only Lacuna’s mind. In episode V a clever combination of puppets and costumes were used to create the intergalactic cast of aliens in the film. The primary example of puppet use in this film is the life like representation Of the master Jed, Wood_ This three toot, mossy green, grey haired character avgas created by Steward Freeborn, the clay sculpture Who created the original images Of Lacuna’s fantastical cast, and the animators department, as they handled the puppets as well. Amazingly the puppet Wood had a full range Of emotion.
This is attributed to the complex mechanics within his plastic skull as well as the dexterity with which the puppeteer handled the puppet itself. These advanced mechanisms allowed for full movement of the eyes, eyelids, mouth, lips, and eyebrows. While these mechanics are not at all new, they are innovative in the way that Lucas had to Ely on theses simple mechanisms to create emotion in such a pivotal character in his film. When puppets were not enough to create the specific effect that Lucas imagined, when the puppets were simply too small for the “epic” effect the Star Wars films are famous for, costumes were the only other, Nan-digital, way of producing galactic_ characters. A great deal of how we respond to a character on screen is a result of the costume department” (Lucas) Lucas meant that the way that the audience reacts to any character is based on how they see the character, literally and figuratively. How the character is visually illustrated can effect how an audience feels about the character throughout the entire film, and Lucas relies on this physiological occurrence to create a certain tone in his films. An excellent example of how costumes are used to create the unimaginable is the Wampum, an enormous Yeti like snow monster native to the planet Hot. The ten foot monster is played by an actor, Des Webb, a 6′ 10″ foot giant himself.
He stumbled through the Norwegian snow banks on two foot stilts topping Off his costume with a one foot tall Wampum head. As in more modern films, Harry Potter or example, directors tend to lean towards using actors Of enormous height when creating giant characters instead of depending solely on computer generated imagery. The costume department made every part of Des Webs costume, from finding snow monster appropriate shaggy fur, to painting the area in between the knuckle joints on the gloves in order to create perfect authenticity and meet Lacuna’s image. This passion for detail through costuming can be directly linked to Lacuna’s own passion for his films which seemed to be contagious among his crew.
While costumes are supremely helpful in the realm of character creation, the trial evolution to character development is the turn to digital arts. “The digital characters are what I need really to tell the star wars films,” says Lucas. Lucas, as well as his team of artists, realized and embraced the fact that with the technology that they had waited years for, they would now be able to tell their story with more depth and detail as the technology would now allow for more creative liberties within This progression towards computer generated imagery is apparent in the making of the prequel trilogy. In Episode the character Jar-jar Pinks was originally cast as an actor in a costume, but then as used as a physical map for animators to create his computer generated counter part. We’re pursuing the idea of doing the body on set and the head in digital,” (McCollum) Executive producer, Rick McCollum, a man Of influence where Star Wars was concerned, was a large part of pushing for more computer generated images. Where Lucas had the dream Of having an all digital cast, McCollum brought these dreams to the screen. After preliminary animation testing, Jar-jar became a fully CGI character. “One Of the things that could make this the most special thing in the world is that it’s a pure CGI character,” said Rick McCollum. Named Best, the actor who was originally cast to play Jar-Jar Sinks, was no longer needed for the actual footage of the film, I. L.
M dressed Best in a blue suit, made to be the same color as a blue screen, and using motion sensors on the suit they mapped out his acting, digitized the information, and used his motions to create Jaguar’s unique character. Wood was truly the pivotal character in the realm of computer generated imagery. Wood is one of the few characters who was originally analog a physical character, and became completely computer generated. The animators, while irking on episode l, spent their energy creating a completely computer generated Wood. They proposed to both Lucas and McCollum that using a fully computer generated Wood would enable him to have a more full range of emotions and participate in more elaborate fight scenes.
However, in order to create a Wood which would both wow audiences and appear to be the same Wood in films previously released, the animation team at AL. M had to be cautious when considering the acceptable range of motion they planned to give to Wood. The fear that they would over step Hood’s original range of both emotion and event, as well as being able to capture the essence of the character, meant that Prank Oz, the original puppeteer was an enormous part Of Hood’s transition from analog to digital. The key, according to Oz, for keeping Hood’s performance similar to those Of the original trilogy, was to keep a certain stiffness about him, “I always took Hood’s back aches and sore feet into account. (Oz) In conclusion the evidence provided in the argument answers the research question: were the creators of the six part Star Wars series, specifically in Episode Ill: Revenge of the Sits and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, able to create nonentity between the antiquated and modern trilogies, specifically through the utilization of set design and the creation of characters? The terms of measurement discussed do not support the thesis, that over the course Of the Star Wars saga there is sufficient evidence to support the claim that the creators were able to create a sense Of continuity between the first and second sets Of trilogies. The argument is a collection of examples pulled from clips of the films under investigation as well as primary and secondary source quotations from documentaries on the making of the films. Each point was presented using evidence from both films and then compared and contrasted to each other.
Problems met during my plan of investigation was finding appropriate sources, sources which I would be able to glean viable information from. For instance one source used was a documentary about the making to Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and after searching every outlet the complete video was found in a 5 part series on Youth. Additionally my original plan incorporated all six films from the series, but after evaluation I chose to only use those which felt would truly aid me in my research. The number of times that the two trilogies differed far outnumbered the counts that the two were similar. The sheer amount of computer generated imagery mentioned in regards to the creation of episode V clearly overshadows the few times CGI was used in the original trilogy.
For example it was said that nearly every scene in episode Ill had at least one component of CGI enhancement whereas in episode V the single use of CGI was in set design, specifically the use Of blue screen. What surprised me most concerning the research was the ingenuity used in original trilogy. The combination Of effects and their ability to overcome serious genealogical hurdles was fascinating to learn about. The reason for the surprise is that in modern filer both the filmmaker and audience assume that the latest in technology is available and ready to use, reading and watching the making of an older film, seeing more antiquated techniques being used effectively was inspiring. If I had to repeat this investigation would plan to find documents used in the making of the films.