The Moment part 1 - ILM / ArtStation Challenge

This was my first entry for the ILM Art Department challenge over on ArtStation based around the original Star Wars trilogy -a massive three-part challenge that spanned several months. By coincident I had already set apart some time to work on my portfolio so I managed to actually make it all the way through to the end without having to scramble for time. I have a lot of work I did for this to upload but since I can actually show all of the work in progress as well I figured I'd dedicate a few posts to it and do a proper write up and overview of my process.

The brief for the first round was:

Create two keyframes – an emotive still image that tells a cinematic story – within the world of Star Wars Episodes IV – VI. Use only existing Star Wars worlds, vehicles, creatures and characters to create a new story moment.

I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to do at first, so I just started doing some thumbnails to see what came up -resulting in the below sheet. I realized I wanted to do something that potentially adds to the movies rather than just go off on a random tangent and decided I liked thumbnail 4. The scene is set in the third film, and the idea is to quickly show how far the characters have come from the very first opening shot in Star Wars: A New Hope by showing the Tantive IV in background of the ride to the Sarlacc Pit -the idea being that the Empire discarded the ship after taking Princess Leia prisoner and just dumped it on the planet where it's now decomposing in the desert.

Once I had my direction, and since there was plenty of time to play around, I did some more thumbnails to figure the composition out a little better. I ended up taking Jabba the Hutt's ship out and substituting it with the one skiff Han, Chewbacca and Luke are in simply to drive the whole point of the scene home better, but kept the side-on view of the skiff. While for a modern remake I'd probably go for thumbnail A from the sheet below, if the scene had to be done with physical models and composed together after the fact with the special effect tools of the 80's it is way more efficient to have the craft slide across the screen horizontally.

I also played around a bit with the positioning of the Blockade Runner but the initial shot of the engines was both the most iconic and shows the now discarded ship from the same angle it first flew into view in A New Hope in.

This particular scene also lend itself well to try and stick close to the style of the original concept art for the Star Wars movies done by Ralph McQuarrie, so rather than rely heavily on photobashing and 3D models I decided to paint most of it by hand -something I stuck with throughout the rest of the challenge as well because I wanted to maintain some consistency, though looking back I think I probably should've shifted my approach for the last round especially to save time. Still, had a blast working on these, more to follow soon!

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