How visual effects brought ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ characters to life


While director J.J. Abrams was adamant in using old-school practical effects and puppets in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the blockbuster sci-fi film still relied quite a bit on computer-generated effects to bring to life not only memorable characters like Maz Kanata, but also exciting explosions, droids, space battles and more.

In fact, “The Force Awakens” visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett reveals in the video interview with FX Guide that approximately 2,100 of the movie’s 2,500 shots have some sort of CGI included in them, which may explain why the “Star Wars” movie is up for so many Academy Awards nominations including Best Visual Effects.

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In these eye-opening behind-the-scenes videos from CGI masters Industrial Light & Magic, fans can see the breakdown of how many of the coolest moments and characters in “The Force Awakens” were made including interactions between BB-8 and R2-D2, the crash of a certain well-known ship and many more.

The videos show the raw green screen footage first, then the addition of CGI, which really makes the scenes, creatures and characters even more awe-inspiring. It’s interesting to note that not only are some characters like Maz Kanata fully GGI (with motion capture from actress Lupita Nyong’o) but other scenes have subtle CGI touch ups as well of what the human characters are looking at in any given moment.

Watch the videos above and below for the full CGI reel, but keep in mind if you’re one of the few people left on the planet who haven’t see “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” there are many spoilers in both the videos.