vfxshow 214: Look who’s Tarkin’ now: Star Wars Rogue One

Happy Christmas and best wishes for the Holidays from the vfxshow team and fxguide


This week, Mike Seymour, Jason Diamond and Matt Wallin discuss the visual effects of the latest Star Wars film: Rogue One.

Gareth Edwards talks to Mark Hamill aka Luke Skywalker, during a set visit.
Gareth Edwards talks to Mark Hamill aka Luke Skywalker, during a set visit.


Note: Gareth Edwards taught courses at fxphd.com : Here is a link to his Course:

A Guerrilla Filmmakers Guide to After Effects


The guys discuss:

  • The latest Star Wars film
  • Review the VFX 
  • Discuss and review the digital actors including Tarkin and Leia
  • Gareth Edwards directing and the work of DOP 
  • Alan Tudyk and K-2S0
  • Recall Matt’s days at ILM as an actual StormTrooper
The vfxshow's Matt Wallin as a Stormtrooper in a galaxy far far away.
The vfxshow’s Matt Wallin as a Stormtrooper in a galaxy far far away.

More soon:


There will be a full story on Rogue One Jan 2nd here at fxguide and a follow up special on Digital Actors with the ILM not long after.


8 thoughts on “vfxshow 214: Look who’s Tarkin’ now: Star Wars Rogue One”

  1. BIG THANK YOU!!! I watched the movie last night…and immediately looked for the discussion on fxguide.com!!!! Twice a week, I must be walking by where I think Jason’s office is on 6th Avenue, I believe…and think about these podcasts every time! Appreciate all the details you guys discuss! Happy Holidays!!! -Alkesh.

      1. Thanks Matt. I was eager to hear the podcast after seeing Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing’s digital double. And I am so happy to hear the positive spin you three gave to the efforts that ILM took. Still, it is interesting how unsettling a CG human character feels to human eyes, compared to…say Caesar in Planet of the Apes series. So…yes… CG characters did not work for me for these two. Mon Mothma seemed quite real to me. In my limited observation power, I think for Peter it was the excessive body movement when he was supposed to be standing still, and something about how straight/parallel his pupils were fixed. Although I could tell that he was looking at things, I didn’t see the focus in his eyes on objects that he was looking at. Shots from the back with his reflection in the glass were fine. Carrie…well, she came and went very fast.. but I thought she lacked Princess Leia’s personality…somehow. But like you guys said, we are 95-98% there!
        Slow destruction of planets worked for me the best. there was so much to see in that pace. I was hopping that the Death Star would not blow up the planets nearly as fast as it did back in the 70s! And yes…that spaceship’s jet force blowing Jyn Erso away due to the physical force was unexpected…and well-placed!

        1. Good insights. I agree on the body motion and the eyes. Its so close, but that last few percentages have got to be the toughest. There’s a cool article in the NYTimes today on the work they did. And I think Mike has some stuff that he’ll be posting soon too once the press embargo has been lifted. I’m going to have to go see this movie again for sure.


    1. To me the main problem was the animation, as Alkesh said, the animators tend to move everything they can trying to make it subtle, is like if they have a 5 seconds scene and they try to use all the controls they have, and with all that Tarkin mouth movement was rubber like, I agree with Mike, the specular reflection was exaggerated, I think the technology is there is just that the person in charge of the vfx doesn’t have that kind of vision or the opposite, there’s too many people giving input, I’m not a huge fan of Star Wars but I saw Cushing’s performances, the eyes were extremely expressive, also the mouth, ILM didn’t nail the acting. And Leia.. I saw again the scene, the jaw movement is exaggerated for that line of dialog, mouth looks stiff too.. the models were great, skin sliding too on Tarkin, textures and lighting. Are they going to make it better next time? I bet they will! Cheers!

      1. Look at Cushing’s scene in Episode IV and you’ll find the 3D double looks even worse. I agree with Matt: an actor, even if he looks not quite exactly like Peter Cushing would have been way more believable. I found each Tarkin scene very distracting.

  2. Jonathan R Stratton

    Great discussion guys. I am a modeler and am very passionate about facial modeling techniques and bringing characters to life. I was eager to hear everyones perspective. I saw the movie (third time) with a couple of friends whom were not huge fans and I did not mention the digital doubles in advance. After the movie we were talking about it and I asked them, what did you think of the digital double? Both said “yeah Carrie Fisher it was obvious”. Then I asked how about the other one? Neither knew he was a digital double. Never bothered them at all. I wonder if knowing he was dead comes into play with the Tarkin digital double?

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