Wars diorama backgrounds
Yes, this is literally "behind the scenes"
of the dioramas. Here's a sort
of Photoshop tutorial on how I made the backgrounds. Many of the
images I had I simply found on the web or was able to get a screen capture
off the dvd that worked as a clean plate. However, the images below
are ones where I had to remove or alter elements.
I did these out of
order, so you can't see my skills improving. However, there was definitely
I: The Phantom Menace
||Here I just used
the smear tool to paint out the protocol droid. This is most effective
with solid, flat textures.
||This was a combination
of techniques. Mostly I pasted approximate pieces over the parts
of the wall and floor I needed, then I used the smear tool to blend the
||How dare this guy
wander into the shot! I covered him with sand and smeared it a bit.
||Nothing but the
smear tool. I could have pasted textures over the characters first,
but the background is so choppy that it didn't matter.
No, I didn't bother
with the guy in the middle of the frame. I never even noticed him
in all the times I've seen this movie, so why bother with him now?
||I needed a bit more
of the senate chamber, so I pasted portions together. I never bothered
smearing the rough edges out though.
||I just smeared out
Qui Gon and Darth Maul.
||This was a difficult
one, so it ended up being fairly rough. I didn't bother to fine tune
||This came out better
than I expected. It was done entirely with the smear tool.
Ideally, I should have pasted things first, but I didn't.
II: Attack of the Clones
||This was the only
film of the saga where I didn't have the widescreen edition. You
can always crop things more narrowly, but fullscreen versions leave out
elements at the edge of the frame that you might otherwise use. As
a result, I had to stretch things or paste sections together to widen backgrounds.
You'll see more of
this in the Geonosis arena scenes, but I had to to paste portions of a
panned shot in the Outlander Club on Coruscant.
||Same thing here
on this extreme pan (it goes more than 180 degrees very fast, hence the
blur) around Dexter's Cafe. I ended up using only a portion of this
in the final diorama.
||The line of symmetry
was too perfect. I just copied a mirror image of the left side.
I don't think anyone knows the skyline of Coruscant so well that they would
notice the buildings are the same on both sides. It would be easy
enough to replace these with the originals, of course (at least in part),
The only weird thing
is the subtle fact that shadows aren't aligned as they should be.
Of course, ILM was notorious for neglecting shadows on CG elements in The
Phantom Menace in particular, so big deal.
||Another trick is
to get a useable shot that has only one actor (or CG double), then wait
until he/she/it moves a little further along in the frame.
In this case, I just
copied the exposed area of the set from a different image a few frames
later over the area obscured Jango in this portion of the shot.
As always, I used
the smear tool to clean up misalignments of the pasted section.
||Here's an example
where I only needed a portion of the wall texture. I stole this to
use as the background in the war room. I used the image below for
half of that, then created a mirror image for the other half.
I used the same mirroring
technique for the plains of Naboo for the Gungan/droid battle scene.
||I needed a background
for this battle. Again, I just cropped the image where Yoda obscured
too much of the (virtual) set to recover or recontruct it, then painted
||This wasn't bad
to begin with, but I decided to widen the scene a bit. The tunnel
in the background gave me some symmetry to work with. As usual, I
used the smear tool to dull the edges.
I then stole some
of these droids for the previous manipulation.
||This is far from
perfect, but it came out better than I expected. Again, the obscured
elements (i.e., the fence and ground) were replaced with pasted sections.
I did some painting on the mountains in the background. Everything
else was smeared.
In hindsight, this
would have come out better if I had used the portion of the fence in the
middle of the frame. I have no idea why I didn't.