he stopped on a picture of his parents’ wedding day. there was his father waving up at him, beaming, the untidy black hair harry had inherited standing up in all directions. there was his mother, alight with happiness, arm in arm with his dad.
He had no idea where the stereotype of dumb giggly blondes came from. Ever since he’d met Annabeth at the Grand Canyon last winter,when she’d marched toward him with that Give me Percy Jackson or I’ll kill you expression, Leo had thought of blondes as much too smart and much too dangerous
Designing Interfaces for Star Wars: The Last Jedi (article with photos)
London creative studio BLIND LTD designed over 200 interfaces for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. We talk to BLIND founder Andrew Booth about the inspiration for the film’s on-screen graphics and what it’s like to work on one of the most famous film franchises of all time.
You might not have heard of BLIND LTD but if you’re into spy thrillers or superhero epics, then you’ve probably seen its work. The motion design studio was founded in 1995 and has created futuristic on-screen displays for some of the biggest action films of the past two decades – from Skyfall and Casino Royale to Justice League, Dark Knight, Dark Knight Rises, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and both Kingsman films.
BLIND has also designed interfaces for three films in the Star Wars franchise: the Force Awakens, Rogue One and most recently, The Last Jedi. The team worked closely with Production Designers Rick Carter and Darren Gilford to establish the right look and feel for on screen graphics in The Force Awakens, and built on this visual language with Lucasfilm Design Supervisor Kevin Jenkins and Production Designer Rick Heinrichs on The Last Jedi. BLIND created user interfaces and on-screen graphics for 14 sets and 10 vehicles – from Police Speeder bikes to Supreme Leader Snoke’s Mega Destroyer ship (also known as the Supremacy). As BLIND founder Andrew Booth explains, the result is a slick set of graphics that feel both retro and futuristic, providing a nod to Star Wars films from decades past as well as cult TV shows and the work of pioneering computer graphic artists…
Poe Dameron’s X-Wing cockpit
User Interface designs for General Hux’s Finalizer
Kylo Ren’s shuttle
Kylo Ren’s shuttle
Kylo Ren activates his targeting system
Poe calls Hux via a comms link
Knight Rider inspired displays for The Libertine
Canon alignment targeting screen on Canady’s dreadnought
Booth says director Rian Johnson wanted “graphic clarity” in the interface design. “He wanted us to distill the storytelling to its simplest and clearest expression to match the pace of the film,” he explains
Could you talk us through the different interfaces you created for Star Wars: The Last Jedi?
Andrew Booth: We created two triptych displays for The Resistance Cruiser bridges [the displays in the ship manned by Resistance leader, Princess-turned-General Leia] showing tactical battle alerts.
All of the Resistance vehicles had screens: the Bombers, A-Wings [a wedge-shaped fighter ship], Ski Speeders [levitating vehicles that appear in the film’s final battle sequence, leaving a trail of red dust behind them] … and Poe Dameron’s X-Wing [featured in the film’s opening scenes].
At the end of the film we included a nod to our UI work on Rogue One. The Resistance sends out a signal for help on an antiquated communication console in the Mining Operations Room on Crait – possibly the same tech the Rebel Alliance used back on Yavin years earlier [in Star Wars: A New Hope]…
For the First Order [the military dictatorship led by Supreme Leader Snoke, which launches an assault against the Resistance in an attempt to rule the galaxy], we created user interface designs for General Hux’s Finalizer, Kylo Ren’s shuttle and First Order Tie Fighters. UI highlights include the moment when Kylo Ren activates his targeting system – [director Rian Johnson] wanted the graphics here to add an additional element of tension … and another when Hux detects and X-wing [a Resistance fighter] on his radar when Poe calls him via a comms link.
For Canto Bight [the casino city modelled on Monaco and Las Vegas, where much of the film’s action takes place], we created graphic content for the Police Speeders and DJ’s [played by Benicio del Toro] ship The Libertine. The vibe here was all about fun: opulence meets 1980s automobile graphics – think Knight Rider.
In all we designed, animated and delivered live, on-set content for over two hundred displays! We certainly had a larger scope of user interface graphics on The Last Jedi – much more than on The Force Awakens.
What stage of the process were you brought in at? Were interfaces added in post or shot on set?
We are brought in during pre-production as the sets are being designed and built, and we continue to work on designs right up until the end of principal photography. All our graphics are shot in camera and we can enhance in post if needed.
Did you get to visit any of the Star Wars sets? What was that like?
Exciting of course! Whenever there are displays involved, BLIND always has a presence on set, so the design can be tweaked to give the director what he or she wants and designs can be manipulated based on the actors’ reactions. The ambition is to capture the complete moment during principal photography, which is all part of the spirit and ethos of Star Wars.
And what kind of creative guidance did you receive from Rian Johnson?
It was clear from the script and initial meetings with Rian that he wanted graphic clarity on the individual shot beats. He wanted us to distill the storytelling to its simplest and clearest expression to match the pace of the film. Rian gave us a lot of creative freedom and was generous with his time. He wanted us to build on our previous experiences on The Force Awakens and Rogue One.
Was there anything else that you looked to for visual inspiration when working on The Last Jedi?
The artwork of Larry Cuba outside of Star Wars – such as his film Calculated Movements – became the inspiration for the graphic development of the First Order. The angular masculine abstract nature of Cuba’s film matched the exaggerated aggression of the first order. We also looked at everyday objects such as cutting mats with grids and protractors which directly inspired the cannon alignment targeting screen on Canady’s Dreadnought [see below].
Art Director Mark Harris is a legend within the Star Wars franchise who worked on the original trilogy – an inspirational, generous man with an extensive knowledge of the Harry Lange-inspired graphic style of Star Wars. Harris asked us to take Harry Lange-inspired panels and animate them for Kylo Ren’s observation deck aboard the Mega Destroyer (the Supremacy). If you look closely, you see them moving quietly in the background.
For Canto Bight, we had subtle nods to funky 80s car dashboards and The Designers Republic’s work on the video game WipEout. We also looked at abstract digital art pioneers such as John Whitney.
- Rachael Steven (abridged, link bellow for full text)
There is going to be a war. A war against Lagertha, who killed my mother in order to be Queen and of course a war between brothers. You have a choice, fight alongside me or I will kill you. ~Ivar in the new Vikings teaser