I joined the Pinewood team once production fully shifted to the UK and we began developing previs for multiple sequences.
Asset creation continued for quite some time, longer than most projects, mainly due to the sheer volume of unique creatures, vehicles and environments that needed to be created.
Barry Howell: The Destruction of Jedha was one of the most fun scenes to work on, mainly because the director gave us amazing latitude to explore some of our own ideas.
He provided some concept pieces that he really liked to use as a guide for how massive the destruction would be, briefed us on the main beats he was interested in seeing and let us run from there.
From there, the tool could auto-generate hundreds of new and unique viewpoints based on the criteria we had established.
Some angles produced by the tool would be complete rubbish, but there were always others that Gareth would like.
We then lit them according to what was needed for each setup, using a plugin to generate large-scale 360-degree spherical images straight from Maya’s Viewport 2.0 display.
But what were the very first things The Third Floor did on Rogue One to get started on such a huge project, especially when you have a seemingly clear slate?
Barry Howell: We were thrilled to join the project, of course because it was a Star Wars production and also because myself along with The Third Floor’s other five founders met while working as previs artists on the “third floor” of Skywalker Ranch on and were especially excited to support director Gareth Edwards again in realizing the creative ideas he and the producers at Lucasfilm had for the movie.
Rather than looking at blue or green screen, the performers could react to the previs environments that would cast lighting and temperature cues similar to what the final visual backdrops would be.
This was useful in lighting the performers more realistically and would aid in integrating them with the final effects.
The previs shots we delivered provided a lot of options to experiment with editorially.