3D World

DEATH STAR DE­STRUC­TION PLAN

STAR WARS, 1977

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Com­puter an­i­ma­tion artist Larry Cuba got the as­sign­ment to cre­ate the brief­ing room Death Star at­tack plan for Star Wars: A New Hope (1977/1997).

Given the era you might as­sume it was han­dan­i­mated, but Cuba worked off matte paint­ings and model pieces of the Death Star sur­face to cre­ate a dig­i­tal model on a sys­tem called GRASS (Graph­ics Sym­bio­sis Sys­tem), a pro­gram­ming lan­guage cre­ated to script 2D vec­tor graph­ics an­i­ma­tions. The se­quences were then back pro­jected onto a black screen on the brief­ing room set.

Prior to the Lu­cas­film gig, Cuba had pro­duced sev­eral com­puter-an­i­mated short films, beat­ing Pixar to the punch by decades. Watch ‘Mak­ing of the Com­puter Graph­ics for Star Wars (Episode IV)’ on Youtube for the full story (www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymesw00n3a­c).

Nerd trivia; cred­ited un­der ‘Com­puter An­i­ma­tion and Graphic Dis­plays’ along­side Cuba’s name is one Dan O’ban­non, a ti­tanic name in sci-fi as a writer and some­time ac­tor.

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