Autodesk Maya Serves as Animation Platform for New Star Wars

Autodesk Maya Serves as Animation Platform for New Star Wars Lucasfilm Ltd. and Lucasfilm Animation are using Autodesk Maya software to create the upcoming television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, just as they did to create the feature-length animated film that is now in theaters.

These are the first animated Star Wars projects from Lucasfilm. The projects benefited from a global production environment, with Maya as the hub for creating highly detailed worlds, characters and creatures, including Anakin Skywalker, R2-D2, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jabba the Hutt.

Lucasfilm Chief Technology Officer Richard Kerris said, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars brings an entirely new look and feel to Star Wars by moving it into animation. We wanted to use technology that would live up to the high standards of Lucasfilm, and selected Autodesk Maya as our animation platform for both the film and TV series. We chose Maya for its creative tools, extensibility and large user base. Maya is the backbone of our global production environment, enabling us to seamlessly share work between our United States-based creative team and our production studios in Asia.”

Digital artists in California, at Lucasfilm Animation Singapore and at partner studio CGCG in Taipei, have created more than 30 episodes of the TV series. The California-based creative team at Lucasfilm Animation establishes the storyline and key scenes, while animators at the studios in Asia produce the animation. This around-the-clock production chain generates an average of eight finished minutes of animation each week — an unprecedented productivity level for film and TV production.

Autodesk Maya Serves as Animation Platform for New Star Wars

Kerris added, “Maya has become the animation platform of choice for the film industry. It greatly reduces the complexity of working globally. At Lucasfilm, we’re constantly developing new tools, and we fit them into Maya. In essence, Maya is the concrete foundation that lets us explore new concepts and maximize productivity and creativity — without disrupting our global production pipeline.”

“Ultimately, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is about great storytelling,” said Danny Keller, animation supervisor at Lucasfilm. “From a technological standpoint, we need to be flexible in order to take the creative vision wherever George Lucas and supervising director Dave Filoni dream of taking it. Autodesk Maya allows us to do that.”