Exploring a new perspective of the Star Wars galaxy, Andor tells the tale of a rising rebellion in the orbit of Cassian Andor, an operative and pilot last seen in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The Third Floor (TTF) collaborated with the show team and VFX Supervisor Mohen Leo to support visualization and planning for shots and scenes across Season 1. This included visualization of the action through previs and postvis as the story travels to different worlds on Ferrix, Niamos, Narkina 5, Coruscant, Aldhani, Morlana and others.
A hooded Cassian as seen in Episode 1. Visualization frame The Third Floor, Inc. © Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Artists also assisted with asset and animation look development, visualizing flight and landing styles for Luthen’s Rael’s Fondor Haulcraft and visualization of a variety of establishing shots. Other development tests were carried out for shots in a post-credits scene where Construction Droids are assembling the Death Star.
Example of exploratory visualization for location establishing shots and changes-of-scene. Visualization frame The Third Floor, Inc. © Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Looming Death Star over the planet Scarif. Visualization frame The Third Floor, Inc. © Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
“Referencing concept art, we worked closely with Mohen Leo to visualize droid movements as well as mechanisms for them to be able to manipulate the building components” explained Visualization Supervisor Jen Kitching. “We did animation tests of various movements of the droid that could be reviewed and approved by the showmakers before using a crowd system to then represent the droid swarm in previs.”
Construction Droids assemble the Death Star dish in a post-credits scene. Visualization frame The Third Floor, Inc. © Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Some scenes were scouted through virtual camera sessions, where the show team developed ideas and camera angles interactively in environments like the Galactic Senate, the Imperial Bureau of Standards bullpen and explored views from the Narkina prison gantries.
“The DPs, VFX supervisor and other members of the team could interactively fly around an environment and explore the camera angles they wanted in VCAM by holding up an iPad,” said Kitching. “We incorporated buttons for functions like changing lenses and taking screenshots. We could adjust the setup of the scene live when required and had a tool to trigger creation of a corresponding camera in the scene each time a screenshot was taken, which helped streamline origination of shots for full development in previs.”
Visualization frame from shots in the Galactic Senate. The Third Floor, Inc. © Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
In another large action scene, Luthen must escape an Imperial Cruiser in his Fondor ship. Visualization frame The Third Floor, Inc. © Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Luthen jumps to hyperspace, escaping the Imperial Cruiser. Visualization frame The Third Floor, Inc. © Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
The “Eye of Aldhani” sequence in Episode 6 – a big action sequence where Cassian and his group had to escape during a huge celestial event while being pursued by TIE fighters, was extensively visualized. “What made the sequence more challenging was visualizing the meteor storm and the Eye of Aldhani itself,” Kitching recalled. “We developed a meteor setup for previs and postvis so they made sense and were an active part of the story for all parts of the sequence and camera viewpoints, whether from wide shots on the ground, seeing the whole pattern of the sky, or close up with the ships, flying amongst the individual meteors.”
The intensity of meteors seen outside the cockpit helped tell the story as the ship attempts to navigate the storm. Visualization frame The Third Floor, Inc. © Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Meteors had to nearly hit the heroes, block paths, tear apart TIE fighters and fizzle into the atmosphere. Visualization frame The Third Floor, Inc. © Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
TTF also assisted with techvis to help bring together cross-department plans for the filming of plate photography and VFX lineups.
Catch Andor streaming on Disney+.