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Navigating the Shipyard: A Case Study on Virtual Artistry in Ahsoka Episode 2
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Navigating the Shipyard: A Case Study on Virtual Artistry in Ahsoka, Episode 2

In Episode 2 of Ahsoka, titled "Toil and Trouble," a pivotal shipyard scene demanded meticulous attention to detail and collaboration within the virtual art department. Safari Sosebee, supervising the virtual art department, spearheaded the effort, working closely with Eric Steelburg, the cinematographer renowned for his work on Juno.

Setting the Stage

The challenge lay in translating Doug Chiang's early conceptual path of action into a practical and shootable format. This was essential for a long traveling shot that would capture the dynamic action unfolding within the shipyard. The collaboration yielded a simple yet effective travel path, facilitating fluid movement for both action sequences and camera maneuvers.

To enhance the scene's depth and realism, the team incorporated intricate 3D models of submarine factories into the background. These models provided visually striking supports reminiscent of those holding up submarines in real-life shipyards, adding a compelling design element to the virtual set. The scale of the scene underwent multiple iterations, ranging from individual ships to vast fleets, until the perfect balance was achieved.

Iterative Design Process: Finding the Perfect Balance of Scale

Attention to detail extended beyond the shipyard itself. The design of the office overlooking the shipyard underwent rigorous refinement to ensure coherence in scale and shape. Notably, fragments of a star destroyer were ingeniously integrated into the scene, enhancing its authenticity with intricate details.

Managing Workflows and Collaborative Engagements

The project spanned approximately three months, interspersed with work on other sets to maintain a balanced workflow. Throughout the process, the team hosted 5 virtual location scouts, engaging with key stakeholders including production designer Andrew Jones, Director of Photography Eric Steelburg, Director Steph Greene, and producers. This collaborative approach was vital, especially considering the unique challenge posed by Ahsoka's six directors, each bringing their distinct vision to the project.

In conclusion, the shipyard scene in Ahsoka's "Toil and Trouble" stands as a testament to the meticulous craftsmanship and collaborative spirit driving the virtual artistry behind the series. Through innovative problem-solving and a dedication to authenticity, the team worked tirelessly to enrich the narrative of Ahsoka with immersive visuals and intricate detail.


70+ Real-Time Sets: Direction & Design

380+ Virtual Scouts With Director & Key Creatives

17 Virtual Art Department Team Members

8 Months Of Set Design