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Sculpting a Galaxy: Inside the Star Wars Model Shop [Hardcover]

Lorne Peterson , Rick McCallum , George Lucas
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 6 2009
From the producers of the acclaimed Dressing a Galaxy: The Costumes of Star Wars comes an inside look at the secrets behind the saga’s artful models and sculptures. Lorne Peterson, model and sculpture designer for the entire Star Wars saga, takes us on a journey through the intricate process of crafting and sculpting the models from sketch to screen and the artistry behind the dazzling results.
Sculpting a Galaxy: Inside the Star Wars Model Shop features more than 300 full-color photographs and illustrations from the Lucasfilm archives, models from all six films, interviews, images and text with concept sculptors, an overview of the ILM model shop from 1976 through today and numerous gatefolds of the most loved models.
ILM virtually redefined visual effects and blazed a trail into the digital realm, follow behind the camera and into the rarely seen workshops and an amazing look at the creation of movie magic. Sculpting a Galaxy: Inside the Star Wars Modelshop takes readers behind-the-scenes for the first in-depth look at these amazing models and the process behind their creation, punctuated by Lorne Peterson’s exuberance and dedication to craft.
This unique visual treat is a must-have for any Star Wars fan.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This meticulous look at the models, miniatures and sculptures that make up the Star Wars movie universe is sure to make the short list for fans. Model and sculpture designer Peterson takes the reader through a guided tour of the Star Wars series, giving extra attention to fan favorites. Some of the more popular vehicles, such as the AT-AT Walkers and the Millenium Falcon get their own detailed gatefolds. Peterson's tight prose keeps the book on track, offering all sorts of trivia without dwelling on minutiae. While the later movies have certainly benefited from computer-generated special effects, he explains it was more cost-effective and realistic to create many of the sets, backgrounds and vehicles via sculptures and models. Readers will learn that the crowds watching the pod race from The Phantom Menace, for example, were not entirely computer generated-thousands of painted Q-Tips were used to fill out the stadium, "ultimately creating an image that looked very realistic." Peterson covers everything from how to create fake blood for a severed arm (raspberry yogurt mixed with tempera paint) to employing wheelchair motors in order to enable R2-D2 to navigate the gritty Tunisian desert where the first film was shot. Fans will find everything from the holographic chess set from the first film to Darth Vader's mask from Revenge of the Sith lovingly photographed and described in detail. Many of the models regularly tour museums, but this comprehensive examination offers fans a more informed appreciation for the work that went into the series.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lorne Peterson is one of the founding members of Industrial Light & Magic; he was hired by George Lucas to create the models for Star Wars. In 1978, Peterson was invited by Lucas to oversee the entire production of models for The Empire Strikes Back. His signature is evident on nearly every model used in the original trilogy. Peterson’s work is showcased in the entire Star Wars saga, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the Ewok movies, Jurassic Park, Men in Black, Galaxy Quest, and Van Helsing. He was honored with an Academy Award® and a BAFTA Award for the special effects work in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
George Lucas is the creator of the phenomenally successful Star Wars saga and Indiana Jones series. He has been writing and directing for more than twenty-five years.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Mindblowing Feb. 6 2013
Verified Purchase
Seriously, if you're a fan and you're "wondering if it's worth it," it's worth it. I thought I knew most of what there was to know about the subject. This book quickly corrected me and I'm glad for that!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing reference book Nov. 15 2006
Being a huge Star Wars fan (and model maker), this book is filled with incredible photographs of many models used in the film, showing close ups of details you never expected to see. This high quality book, filled with anecdotes, gatefold pages and trivia will please any fan of the Star Wars universe. Highly recommended !
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5.0 out of 5 stars You can almost touch those models in this book Feb. 12 2009
By Parka HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Fans of Star Wars, particularly model collectors will love this book. This book is however not a book featuring collectibles. This is a compilation of hundreds of photos models of ships and sets that were used throughout the Star Wars movies.

There are four main chapters: 1. Starships, 2. Vehicles, 3. Creatures, droids and sculpts, 4. Environment.

The photos included are extremely high quality and many are close ups for details. The level of detail and workmanship is amazing when you're looking at it close up. I can also touch them.

Fans will find almost everything, from the Imperial Star Destroyer, Padme Amidala's Apartment, Holographic Chess Game, just to name a few.

If you've been to Star Wars exhibitions, you'll know that photography isn't allowed. Well, this book is the next best thing to the exhibition. Wait a minute -- so that's why photography isn't allowed.

This is a well constructed hard covered book with great binding and high quality semi gloss paper.

There are more pictures on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  48 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That no moon...that's a 3-foot plexiglass sphere lit by Dennis Muren... Nov. 15 2006
By W. Mudron - Published on Amazon.com
To paraphrase animator/creature designer/puppeteer Phil Tippet, this book is about how several dozen people over the course of several decades managed to create an entire make-believe world (and the ships, creatures and environments within them) with their bare hands.

To a life-long Star Wars geek (and ILM/specialmeffects enthusiast in particular) like me, "Sculpting the Galaxy" is practically spaceship-porn, what with 216 pages filled with beautifiul macrophotography exploring every nook and cranny of the models created for the Star Wars universe in almost fetishistic detail. Don't take my word for it, either - the Millenium Falcon gets it's hown centerfold, fer chrissakes.

What's even better is that all of these photos are interspersed with anecdotes from the author and many other veterans of ILM's model shope describing how the design and fabrication of each model came to be (for example, the entry regarding the Death Star model from "A New Hope"s mentions that said model accidentally wound up being accidentally thrown away during ILM's move from San Raphael to Marin County).

Regardless, this book will stand as a testament to the talent and hard work of the craftsmen and artists who laboured so long to bring George Lucas's vision of a 'galaxy far, far way' to life. Kudos to you, fellas - you've definitely earned it.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You can almost touch those models in this book Oct. 17 2008
By Parka - Published on Amazon.com
Fans of Star Wars, particularly model collectors will love this book. This book is however not a book featuring collectibles. This is a compilation of hundreds of photos models of ships and sets that were used throughout the Star Wars movies.

There are four main chapters: 1. Starships, 2. Vehicles, 3. Creatures, droids and sculpts, 4. Environment.

The photos included are extremely high quality and many are close ups for details. The level of detail and workmanship is amazing when you're looking at it close up. I can also touch them.

Fans will find almost everything, from the Imperial Star Destroyer, Padme Amidala's Apartment, Holographic Chess Game, just to name a few.

If you've been to Star Wars exhibitions, you'll know that photography isn't allowed. Well, this book is the next best thing to the exhibition. Wait a minute -- so that's why photography isn't allowed.

This is a well constructed hard covered book with great binding and high quality semi gloss paper.

(More pictures are available on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book, terrible binding July 23 2010
By M. Darby - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I too, own many of the various other books detailing the creation of the Star Wars universe. Like them, this one tells a small part of the story. While some material has been seen before, I don't mind at all seeing it again along side Lorne's insightful commentary.

HOWEVER, as another reviewer mentioned, the binding leaves much to be desired. My copy started to disintegrate as soon as I opened it. A shame, as I would rate the book 5 stars if it had an intact spine. As such, it hardly gets looked at now as every turn of the page could be the last thanks to the inferior binding.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Giant coffee table book...mostly a retread Aug. 2 2007
By R. Sardrena - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
For those who have purchased the series of "Art of Star Wars" books, as well as "Star Wars: Sketchbooks" et cetera, this tome is impressive but not novel. Many photos from those earlier books are reused here. The problem is that they have been blown up for this larger format. Consequently, the blown-up recycled photos are slightly blurry. There are some wonderful photos of star destroyer details that have not been seen before...but is that enough to merit this huge new book? That decision is up to you, but I expected heretofore unseen, crisply focused photographs.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing you haven't already seen. Sept. 1 2008
By W. Burnham - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I was very disappointed in this book. I was expecting hundreds of images of models and props, and I didn't get it. Most (not all) of the images in this book can be easily found in other, and better better Star Wars reference books. Different book, same stuff.

I returned it.
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