Star Wars: The Force Awakens was nominated for five Academy Awards and they were all richly deserved (though some of us might think it deserved a few more nods, just saying). With the exception of John Williams’ phenomenal score for the film, the nomination that was most on the money was for Best Visual Effects. It’s staggering how good this movie looked from an effects perspective. And despite director J.J. Abrams‘ focus on more practical effects whenever possible, the film still features more digital effects than any of the Star Wars movies made to date.
Effects house Industrial Light & Magic is pushing the ever-growing field of performance capture further than it’s ever been. There were two main performance capture performances in the movie, Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke and Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata. The latter was arguably far more complex given that Maz, you know, actually walks around and changes location and stuff.
A new episode of Design FX, a show on WIRED’s video channel on The Scene features producer Mike Seymour going inside the incredibly intricate programs that turned the Oscar-winning actress into a tiny, ancient alien prophet. It’s pretty astonishing.
Stuff like this will never not be amazing to me. The fact that a digital maquette with its own musculature and skeleton was created to properly render Nyong’o’s character proves just how serious the production was with perfection. Other movies nominated had great effects, but I can’t think of any of them that did it better.
What was your favorite visual effect in Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Let us know in the comments below!
Kyle Anderson is the Weekend Editor and a film and TV critic for Nerdist.com. He has only seen The Force Awakens three times which he considers a personal failure. Follow him on Twitter and tell him he needs to do better!
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