Before’s and Afters take a deeper look at the creation of the Krayt Dragon for The Mandalorian, detailing how it was designed, created and how much of the creature was never seen (and what’s hidden beneath the surface may surprise you).

ILM’s Singapore team started by building a direct CG version of the maquette, as visual effects supervisor Jeff Capogreco explains. “It was basically a digital version that matched the maquette, and then myself and visual effects supervisors John Knoll and Enrico Damm in San Francisco would look at it. I kept wanting to push detail into it. It felt like something photographed at a very small scale that we needed to make work for a very large scale. So we took that as our blueprint and then we stamped detail onto it to make it higher-res. Myself, CG supervisor Nihal Friedel, model supervisor Michal Kriukow, and texture painter Ying Tong Woo poured our lives into making that sequence as exciting as we could and Hal was an invaluable partner for us on the animation side.”

In approaching the animation of the Krayt dragon, lead animator Zaini Bin Mohammed Jalani liaised with Hickel and ILM’s San Francisco animation supervisor Paul Kavanagh, on nailing down the appropriate reference for a creature of this size, including for when it had to swim in the sand.

“There were a bunch of critters, snakes or lizards, that we referenced, but it proved to look absolutely wrong in every way,” admits Capogreco. “They moved too fast for the size and scale. The other thing it did was it ruined our simulations. Things that large, would just make sand fly everywhere. It made it unwatchable.”

“So we ended up relying more on a crocodile or an alligator feel, where they are perched above the water, stalking prey and using their tail to swim through the sand in a very elegant way. That proved to behave well with the simulations.”

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Star Wars: The Mandalorian Junior Novel
  • Schreiber, Joe (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 01/05/2021 (Publication Date) - Disney Lucasfilm Press (Publisher)