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‘Star Wars’ Effects Artist Gives Blu-ray a Boost

2 Sep, 2011 By: John Latchem

Just because someone worked on “Star Wars” doesn’t mean he can’t be a fan, too, especially with the whole saga due on Blu-ray Sept. 16 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

“I’m ecstatic to see the whole thing on Blu-ray,” said John Goodson, a digital artist for Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic visual effects house. “I think the transfer quality is gorgeous.”

Goodson joined ILM in 1988 and has served as chief modelmaker, model project supervisor and art director/designer. He worked as a concept modeler on Star Wars: Episode I and Episode II, and as a viewpaint artist on Episode III.

Goodson appears within the Blu-ray’s “Archive Collection,” a series of featurettes that viewers can click on for more information about things in the movies.

“It’s fun to see this stuff all these years later,” Goodson said.

Among the vehicle models Goodson discusses are the Trade Federation battleship, the Republic cruiser, the Queen’s royal starship, Anakin’s podracer, the Sith speeder, and Republic gunship, the Separatist cruiser, the ARC-170 starfighter and the Jedi starfighter.

“We built a tremendous amount of models,” Goodson said. “Most were photographed for digital models.”

The model team also built large miniature landscapes for many of the cities seen in the films, such as those on Naboo.

“That city was a miniature we augmented digitally. It had very intricate rooftops and manicured gardens,” Goodson said. “On a lunch break one day we made a mini-lawnmower and put it in the model, and for the next six weeks they moved the lawnmower around. It’s in every shot of the city in Episode II.”

Goodson said the use of high-definition cameras has had a big impact on visual effects.

“It means there has to be more attention to detail,” Goodson said. “We had to step it up because of what could be seen.”

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