“Leapin’ Lizards: Anatomy of a Four-Ton Varactyl” by Smith

  • ©Jason RM Smith, Aaron Ferguson, Juan Sanchez, and Sunny Wei




    Leapin’ Lizards: Anatomy of a Four-Ton Varactyl



    For “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith”, we were given the task of creating giant lizard creatures for one of the alien environments. These creatures had plumes of feathers, loose lizard skin, and riding harnesses, and their proximity to camera required close attention to detail. These simulated elements presented an interesting challenge, as they also needed to be artistically controlled to deliver the final performance. Animators used the feather plumes to convey the lizard’s mood, while creature TDs manipulated muscle flex to help sell the weight of the creature. These requirements added up to a unique animation, simulation and deformation challenge.


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