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April 01
2017

ISSUE

Spring 2017

PHIL TIPPETT, VES

Phil Tippett, VES sculpts a Tauntaun head for The Empire Strikes Back. “Early on,” he says, “George was playing with different ideas for what the Tauntaun could be. It could have been a guy made up in an outfit. I was asked to submit a bunch of designs and I drew a bunch of drawings. George picked one and I made a clay maquette and George looked at that and that’s what ended up in the movie.”

Phil Tippett, VES sculpts a Tauntaun head for The Empire Strikes Back. “Early on,” he says, “George was playing with different ideas for what the Tauntaun could be. It could have been a guy made up in an outfit. I was asked to submit a bunch of designs and I drew a bunch of drawings. George picked one and I made a clay maquette and George looked at that and that’s what ended up in the movie.”

V-Art showcases the talents of worldwide VFX professionals as they create original illustrations, creatures, models and worlds. If you would like to contribute to V-Art, send images and captions to publisher@vfxvoice.com.

When it comes to creature design, character animation and other forms of VFX artistry, Phil Tippett, VES, is an acknowledged sage. Ever since he saw Ray Harryhausen’s The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad he was hooked on Visual Art. In 1975 Tippett’s life would change forever when he linked up with George Lucas to do stop-motion work for the first Star Wars film. He never looked back. After a stint with Industrial Light & Magic, he created Tippett Studio, based in Berkeley, California. Over the years, Tippett’s imagination and wizardry have appeared in any number of VFX films and projects.

A motion-control setup combined with the stop-motion provided the appropriate level of motion blur for the running Tauntauns. “We lucked out because most of the requirements for the Tauntaun were that it was a pack animal so it was running around and didn’t need to do a lot of performance,” says Tippett.

A motion-control setup combined with the stop-motion provided the appropriate level of motion blur for the running Tauntauns. “We lucked out because most of the requirements for the Tauntaun were that it was a pack animal so it was running around and didn’t need to do a lot of performance,” says Tippett.

 

From left, Phil Tippett, Dennis Muren ASC, VES, and Tom St. Amand pose with a mold of a stop-motion Tauntaun during production on The Empire Strikes Back.

From left, Phil Tippett, Dennis Muren ASC, VES, and Tom St. Amand pose with a mold of a stop-motion Tauntaun during production on The Empire Strikes Back.

 

The stop-motion set for a Tauntaun scene on the planet Hoth. Compiled by Ian Failes Images courtesy of Phil Tippett/Tippett Studio.

The stop-motion set for a Tauntaun scene on the planet Hoth. Compiled by Ian Failes Images courtesy of Phil Tippett/Tippett Studio.


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