Star Wars Scenes Were Hand-Painted Before CGI

Since the early 2000s, computer generated images, aka CGI, has been the default technology for special effects, but in the 70s and 80s, hand-painting was the technique used for certain scenes, which can be seen in the original Star Wars trilogy.

“Matte paintings are fake sets that—most of the time—are used to be made with plexiglass and oil paint. The artists used oversized panels to create the necessary detail that the camera needed to fool the audiences when the film was projected over the large surface of the theater screen. The paintings were combined with live action film to match the perspective of the painting. If done well, the public would totally buy into the shot.”

Click the jump to check out the original Star Wars trilogy paintings and a history timeline of CGI in movies.

star wars

Via: Empireonline.com and DYT

Although invented in 1976, CGI was not commonly used by production companies until the mid-90s, and did not became a widespread default technology method for movies until in the 2000s. For the original Star Wars movie, Return of the Jedi, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) used matte paintings to create the Rebel Hangar. Although physical plastic models played a part in the scenes as well, the artwork is what really stands out.

CGI in Movies Timeline

Year: 1973
Significance: Cinema’s first 2D computer images in the sci-fi western, Westworld.

Year: 1976

Signifance: First 3D computer graphics in the Westworld sequel, Futureworld.

Year: 1977
Signifiance: 3D wireframe graphics created Empire’s moon-shaped headquarters in Star Wars.

Year: 1982
Significance: first extensive 3D in the movie TRON.

Year: 1984
Significance: Pixar’s first-ever animation

*Year: 1993
*Significance: First physically textured CGI in the film, Jurassic Park.

Year: 1995
Significance: First full-length CG film, Toy Story.

Year: 1999
Significance: First use of photogrammetry in the movie, Fight Club.

Year: 2001
Significance: First photo-realistic human actors in the film, Final Fantasy.

Year: 2004
Significance: First motion-capture feature film.

Year: 2009
Significance: Facial capture in the film, Avatar.

Check out the matte painting masterpieces created by artists, Chris Evans, Mike Pangrazio, Frank Ordaz, Harrison Ellenshaw, and Ralph McQuarrie.

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