This talk was presented at the Xerox PARC Forum
2 September 1999

Digital Technology in Star Wars: Episode I

Ari Rapkin
Industrial Light + Magic

Star Wars: Episode I "The Phantom Menace" presented a wide variety of computer-generated characters and vehicles. Some were major characters, subject to close camera scrutiny and substantial screen time. Others composed a highly detailed and varied "cast of thousands". They walked, flew, interacted with live actors and physical sets, wore clothing, and sometimes shattered. While some of these effects had been achieved in the past, the scale, complexity, and photo-realism of Episode I presented new challenges to be solved by ILM's software team and digital artists.

In this presentation, we'll look at some of the digital technology which was developed for Episode I. The techniques and applications include: dynamics simulations for vehicle explosions; creature animation using dynamics, motion capture, and procedural keyframed cycles; and crowd activity using particle systems and behavioral simulation.