Last October, the For Zombies made our first appearance at the New York Comic Con and encouraged cosplayers to participate in a filming of a Dear Zombies episode. It features a Q&A session where a living person asks the zombies for advice and they deliver it as only the undead can. I walked the floor and managed to find a Captain America who asks us how to capture the Red Skull, Supergirl asking for dating advice and Slave Leia asking for help stopping George Lucas from further revising Star Wars. Supergirl has already been published in our first Dear Zombies episode which was covered in a prior article. We have plans for Captain America, but it’s Slave Leia who got our attention in our most recent release, Dear Zombies: Star Wars Edition.
George Lucas’ changes to Star War have inspired widespread nerd rage that surfaces in the strangest of places. At a political protest in New York a few years ago, there was one sign mixed in with Tea Party protest that stood out with “Why, George Lucas, why?” So, why not have a couple of stupid zombies join in on the action? Thankfully, we found a Slave Leia willing to participate in a Dear Zombies letter. Although crucial, that was only a fraction of the overall effort.
We wanted to do our Star Wars edition right and that calls for light sabers. Back in Oct., we were just getting familiar with Adobe After Effects and concerned that might be beyond us. A very early test involving a simple Wiffle bat proved successful, although time consuming. The same process Lucas used with the original series in the 70s is the same general process used today. Rotoscoping involves tracing over the footage to replace with an animated element. Lucas original did it manually and we did it digital. The clip below is only a few seconds long, but it took around three hours to complete. It’s a tedious, frame-by-frame process and that is just one saber.
It may not look like it from the final clip, but the red saber that appears behind us was much more difficult to animate than the blue saber in the foreground. Lesson learned. If we plan on rotoscoping an object in the future it will be in the foreground as much as possible.