Video | Wednesday, 20th December 2017

How Star Wars changed special effects forever

Watch VFX expert Dr Anthony Bukowski explain the developments in special effects from the original trilogy to The Last Jedi

Dr Anthony Bukowski, Senior Lecturer in Computer Animation and Visual Effects at Manchester Metropolitan University and life-long Star Wars fan, explores how special effects have advanced in the film franchise since the original trilogy was released in the 1970s and 1980s to today’s sequels and spin-offs.

From scale models and miniature sets in the early films to entirely computer-generated drone armies in the prequels, the innovative team responsible for the Star Wars special effects is George Lucas’s VFX and animation studio, Industrial Light & Magic.

Dr Bukowski gives his thoughts below in a series of interesting short videos.

Star Wars Special Effects: From the originals to The Last Jedi

How have special effects changed in the 40 years since Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) was released?

Star Wars: Practical effects versus CGI

Did the Star Wars prequels rely too much on CGI?

Star Wars: The resurgence of practical effects

The Star Wars sequels and spin-offs are often praised for their ‘retro’ approach to special effects - using costumed creatures, puppets and animatronics. Why has there been a resurgence in the use of practical effects?

Star Wars: Grand Moff Tarkin and other CGI characters

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) saw the digital resurrection of Imperial Officer Grand Moff Tarkin – a character originally played by the actor Peter Cushing who died in 1994. How does CGI reconstruction work?

See the other videos and features in the series of academic commentaries on the blockbuster film franchise to coincide with the release of the latest instalment.

Why Stormtroopers need a trade union - law and human rights in Star Wars
Watch law lecturer Barry Harwood discuss justice and employment in the film franchise

Star Wars: ‘The Last Jedi’ could be the darkest episode yet - Film lecturer and Star Wars fan Dr Sorcha Ni Fhlainn previews the hotly anticipated release

The fashion and costumes of Star Wars - Manchester Fashion Institute’s Alison Welsh on the style of the Star Wars universe

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